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THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN THE FAT EAST
ADVENTURES OF TWO YOUTHS IN A JOURNEY
THOMAS W. KNOX
"THE YOUNG NIMRODS IN NORTH AMERICA" "UTHE YOUNG NIMRODS AROUND THE WORLD"
'"ADVENTURES OF TWO YOUTHS IN JOURNEYS TO JAPAN AND CHINA-TO SIAM AND
JAVA-TO CEYLON AND INDIA-TO EGYPT AND THE HOLY LAND" ETC.
HARPER & BROTIIERS, FRANKLIN SQUARE
BY THOMAS W. KNOX.
ITHE BOY TRIAV'ELLERS IN THE FAR EAST. Five Vol-
urmes. (:iiously Illustrated. 8vo, Cloth, $3 00 each. The
volumes sold separately. Each volume complete in itself.
1. ADI)VNTI'I:S OF TWO( YOUTIIS IN A JOUlRNEY TO JAPAN AND CHINA.
II. .ADVI'rtE'< O( Two Y-)'THrIA IN A JOURNEY TO SIAM AND JAVA. With
I)o.-r''iptioillns of ('Wh1n1 C'hina. (amllhodia, Suml atra, aind the Malay Archipelago.
Ill. AI).VIx (IzI .:- T Y1'o niT IN A. JOI NEY TO CEYLON AND INDIA. With
I\. AlDVI'ENTI'!-E. i "i T\IO Y1 ii 'll IN .\ JOURNEY TO EG(YPT AND )PALESTINE.
,V. AD.lv NI (' I:rl' HI' I YwllS IN JOURNEY TIIROUGrI AFRICA.
IIlNTIN(G AI)VENT'HES ON LAND AND SEA. Two
V)olumwes. (')piouly Illu-lratl((. Svo. Cloth, $2 50 each. The
V\'(olI si S(ep:I1(ely. EI':Ahll v(lNmih complete in itself.
1 Till' ,- \, \ Il ilil. IN N IITH .\ I'.Il;('A.
II. Till' Y l \,. \iTl 1 ,'< .\Al;< "M) Tzill: W tIl).
S.su.) n II A HEIR & IRO)TIIERS. NEW YORK.
Alt)A" .ml'.I of/th' i ii,, r, ,un ,f ,ij ii Ii. 'y/fi/, p )rr' i/di. to (aU wy part of the United
S!, s '"r ',Ran( ;,1. ;n rJ'f ('Eit p' f /the '( p ".
Copyright, 1883, by HARPER & BROTHERS.-All'riglits reserved.
W ITH this volume the wanderings of the Boy Travellers in the
Far East are brought to an end. Those enterprising and observ-
ant youths have arrived safely at home, in company with their compan-
ion and mentor, Doctor Bronson. They have seen and learned a great
deal in their absence, and it has been the aim of the author to tell the
story of their travels so that it would interest and instruct the school-
mates and friends of Frank Bassett and Fred Bronson, together with
others who have not the pleasure of their personal acquaintance.
The method followed in the preparation of the preceding volumes of
the series of the Boy Travellers has been observed in the present book,
as far as it was possible to do so. Though the author has visited several
parts of Africa, lie has never made a journey to the Equatorial Regions
of the Dark Continent; consequently he has been placed under greater
obligations to other writers than in his preceding works, and the personal
experiences of Frank and Fred in Central Africa were not those of the
compiler of the narrative. But he has endeavored to maintain the vivid-
ness of the story by the introduction of incidents drawn from many books
of African travel and exploration; he has sought to confine fiction to the
narrowest bounds, and to construct an account of travel and adventure
that should be true in every respect save in the individual characters
Many authorities have been consulted in the preparation of The Boy
Travellers in Central Africa," and while some have been freely drawn
upon, others have been touched with a light hand. The incidents of the
volume have been mainly taken from the works of African explorers of
the last thirty years; a few are of older date, and some are from the
stories of travellers not yet in print. During the preparation of the
volume the author has been in correspondence with several gentlemen
who have supplied him with information relative to the most recent
(I PRE FACE.
explorations, and le has kept a watchful eye on the current news from
the land under consideration. Though the wanderings of the Boy Travel-
lers were confined to Central Africa, other portions of the continent were
studied, as the reader will discover while perusing the following pages.
Many of the volumes consulted in the preparation of the book are
named in the narrative, but circumstances made it inconvenient to refer
to all. Among the volumes most freely used are the works of the fol-
lowing authors: Stanley's Through the Dark Continent" and Coonmas-
sic and Magdala ;" Livingstone's Travels and Researches in South Afri-
ca," Expedition to the Zambesi," and Last Journals ;" Schweinfurth's
" The Heart of Africa" (two volumes) ; Barth's Discoveries in North and
Central Africa" (three volumes) ; Speke's Journal of tile Discovery of
the Source of the Nile ;" Burton's The Lake Regions of Central Africa ;"
Long's Central Africa;" Baker's The Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia
and Ismailia ;" Reade's Savage Africa ;" Bourne's "African Discovery
and Adventure (two volumes); Wilson's Western Africa ;" Baldwin's
"Hunting in South Africa;" Cuummning's "A Hunter's Life in Africa;"
Silver's Hand-book to South Africa:" Cameron's Across Africa;" Serpa-
Pinto's Comment J'ai Travers6 L'Afrique (two volumes) ; DIu Chaillu's
"Equatorial Africa," "Asllango Land, Wild Life Under the Equa-
tor," "My Apingi Kingdom," and lost in thie Jungle;" Anderson's
" Lake Ngami;" and lastly, several authors whose narratives have ap-
peared in Le Tour d Ji Mon(. Tihe publishers have kindly allowed
the use of illustrations which have appeared in previous volumes relating
to the African continent, in addition to those specially prepared for this
work. The maps in the front and rear covers were drawn from thle best
authorities, and are intended to embody all recent discoveries.
With this explanation of his methods, and the acknowledgment of his
indebtedness to numerous explorers and writers, the author submits the
adventures of Frank and Fred in Africa to the press and public that have
so kindly received the narratives of the previous travels of those youths.
T. W. K.
CHAPTER I. PAGE
PREPARATIONS FOR THE JOURNEY.-FROM CAIRO TO KOROSKO ................................ 1
LEAVING KOROSKO.--EARLY EXPLORERS OF THE NILE VALLEY .............. ............. 25
Fio-M KOROSKO TO ABOO HAMED.-TIE NILE AGAIN.-ADVENTURE WITH A CROCODILE.. 37
BERBER AND SIHENDY.-HUNTING THE HIPPOPOTAMUS.-TERRIBLE REVENGE OF AN ETHI-
OPIAN K ING ............................ ........................... .................... 48
LIFE IN KHARTOUM. -DEPARTURE FOR GONDOKORO ....................................... 61
AMONG THE SHILLOOK NEGROES.-ARRIVAL AT FASHODA.-EXPLORERS OF THE NILE ..... 74
AN ANTELOPE HUNT.-GUINEA-WORMS, WHITE ANTS, AND GREAT SNAKES.................. 86
THE DINKAS AND BAR IiS.-GONDOKORO.-ANNEXATION TO EGYPT ......................... 99
AN ELEPHANT HUNT.-MARCHING SOUTHWARD FROM GONDOKORO ....................... 11
A FISHING EXCURSION.-ENCOUNTERING A HIPPOPOTAMUS.-THE COUNTRY OF THE NYAM-
N YAMS ................ ..... .. ....... ............................................. 1 0
ARRIVAL AT AFUDDO.-DIvISION OF ROUTES.-FRANK'S DEPARTURE ...................... 149
DEPARTURE OF THE TWO EXPEDITIONS.-IN THE SHOOLI COUNTRY.--ATTACKED IN AN
AMBUSCADE ........................... ....... ......... .. ........... ..........* 16
FRANK ON A HUNTING EXCURSION.-DRIVING THE PLAIN WITH FIRE ..................... 175
ARRIVAL AT FATIKO.-THE MARCH CONTINUED.-FRANK'S ANTELOPE HUNT .............. 189
AN ELEPHANT HUNT.-CROSSING THE VICTORIA NILE.-ARRIVAL AT FOUEIRA.--KING
RIONGA AND HIS PEOPLE ...... .......................... ........................... 20
CHAPTER XVI. PAGE
THE ALBERT N'YANZA.-ACCOUNT OF ITS DISCOVERY.-INCIDENTS OF THE FIRST DAY'S
V OY A GE ................................... .. ......................................... 216
A DAY ON AN ISLAND.-INCIDENTS OF HUNTING AND FISHING.-LAKE-DWELLINGS OF
CENTRAL AFRICA.................................................... .............. 228
DR. LIVINGSTONE AND HIS DISCOVERIES .................................. ................. 241
FROM THE ALBERT N'YANZA TO FOUEIRA ................................................ 262
DEPART FROM FOUEIRA. -INTERVIEW WITH KING RIONGA. -THE PLATEAU OF CENTRAL
AFRICA.-EXPLORATIONS OF THE NIGER .............................................. 275
TRAVELS OF DR. ROHLFS.-THE TSETSE-FLY.-THROUGH UNYORO ......................... 293
THE MARCH THROUGH UGUNDA.-ARRIVAL AT KING M'TESA'S PALACE ................... 306
CEREMONIES AT M'TESA'S COURT.-THE TELEPHONE IN AFRICA........................... 321
AT M'TESA'S COURT.-VISIT TO THE VICTORIA N'YANZA.-ASTONISHING THE KING ....... 334
AN EXCURSION ON THE VICTORIA N'YANZA .............................................. 349
RIPON FALLS.-THE OUTLET OF THE VICTORIA N'YANZA .................................. 361
RETURN TO RUBAGA.-FAREWELL TO M'TESA.-VOYAGE DOWN THE VICTORIA N'YANZA... 375
THE ALEXANDRA NILE.-FRED'S DESCRIPTION OF THE WEST COAST OF AFRICA .......... 388
A DESCRIPTION OF SOUTH AFRICA.-ENGLISH COLONIES.-OSTRICH FARMING ............. 404
RESUMING THE MARCH.-MIRAMBO'S COUNTRY.-HUNTING ZEBRAS.-DESCRIPTION OF THE
S O K O ..... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... ........ .... .... .... .... *... ........ 4
To MIRAMBO'S CAPITAL.-STANLEY'S WORK ON THE LIVINGSTONE ........................ 431
UNYAMYEMBE.-AMONG THE ARABS.-MARCHING TOWARD TIE COAST ..... ............. 449
INCIDENTS OF THE JOURNEY TO TIE COAST.-CONCLUSION ................................ 463
The Heart of Africa .......... ............ ... ......... Frontispiece.
Map of Africa............. ............................. ............... Front Cover.
Map of Central Africa............................... ...................... Rear Cover.
" The Carriage is Read!". .. ..... 13 Trees near the River ................... 68
Fred's Quandary. ................ .. 14 View near the Edge of the Town ......... 69
The First Shave .................... 14 Preparing Dinner .................... 70
Camp and Caravan. ................... .. 17 Baker's Expedition Leaving Khartoum .. 71
A Group of Porters ..................... 19 A Village Scene ....................... 72
Dr. Schweinfurth Ascending the Nile ....... 22 The Heart of Africa .................... 73
An African Horizon ................... 23 A Bird of the White Nile ................ 75
A Village in the Dark Continent"....... 23 An Ambatch Canoe ..................... 76
The Native at Home .................. 25 An Adventure on the Nile............... 77
Arab Slave-traders ................... 27 Speke and Grant in Central Africa ....... 79
A Slave-gang on the Road ............... 28 Group of Gani Men .................... 81
Baker's Expedition Crossing the Desert .... 30 Karuma Falls, on the Victoria Nile (Somer-
"The Forty Thieves" ................... 33 set River) .......................... 83
View on the Bahr-el-Azrek .............. 35 View of Fashoda ...................... 85
Pilgrims on the Road to Mecca. ............ 36 Scene on the White Nile above the Sobat 86
The Guide in the Desert ............... 37 Hauling a Steamboat through a Canal Cut
A Mirage in the Desert .................. 39 in the Sudd.......... .. ..... ...... 88
Sunrise on the Sea of Sand ............... 40 Nests of W white Ants ................... 91
Scene at the W ells. ..................... 41 A Herd of Antelope ........... ........ 93
Mountain Pass in the Desert ............. 42 A Slave-making Ant, Magnified .......... 94
Dragging a Crocodile to Land ............. 45 Colonel Long's Great Snake ............ 96
Securing a Supper .. .. ...... ... .... 47 Python Seizing its Prey ................. 98
The Home of Behemoth ................. 49 Head of a Dinka Bull .................. 99
An African River Scene ... ............ 50 Sectional View of Dinka Hut ............ 100
A Narrow Escape....................... 51 A Dinka Cattle-yard................... 101
Hippopotamus Spears .................. 52 A Sheep without Wool .................. 102
Spearing the River-horse. ................ 53 A Dinka Village near the White Nile ..... 104
A Berber Arab ......................... 55 Ceremony at Gondokoro on its Annexation
Sheep of Berber ........................ 56 to Egypt ........................ ... 107
View in the Atbara Valley ............... 58 Austrian Mission-house at Gondokoro ..... 108
An Ethiopian King. ....................... 60 View of Gondokoro, from the River ...... 109
Arrival at Khartoum .................... 61 Colonel Abd-el-Kader.. ..... . ... 110
Elephants at Home-Shaking a Fruit-tree 63 Bari Arrows and Elephant-spear ......... 112
Profiles of Dinka Negroes................ 65 Baris Stealing Cattle from the Garrison at
Bringing a Slave to Market.............. 66 Gondokoro ........................ 113
African Drums ................... ..... 115 Great Rock near the Camp ....... ... .. 186
The Nile below Afuddo ................. 116 Peculiar Table-rock in the Bari Country ... 187
A Nyam-Nyam Girl ..... ........... 117 Baker's Battle with the Slave dealers.-
Entrance of the Lake ................... 118 Charge of the Egyptian Soldiers ....... 190
Nyam-Nyam W warriors ................. 119 Crossing a Plain ....................... 192
Elephant Coming to Drink .............. 121 Fort Fatiko ........................... 193
Elephants Hunted in the Water .......... 123 Ground-plan of the Fort ................. 194
The Navigable Nile above the Last Cataracts 125 View from the Rock-fort of Fatiko ....... 195
Saddle-donkeys ................... .... 126 Camp where Captain Speke was Detained. 197
Marching through the Bari Country....... 127 N'samma Antelope ................... 199
Camp Scene........................... 129 Charge of a Lioness............... .... 201
One of the Cooks ...................... 130 A Dangerous Position .................. 204
The Second Day's March ............... 131 Frank's Discovery: a "Rogue" Elephant. 206
Fishing Village in an African Lake ........ 133 Navigation under Difficulties ................ 208
Stampeding the Caravan .................. 134 An Unpleasant Acquaintance ........... 210
Halting-place near a Pond................ 135 The Victoria Nile at Rionga's Island ...... 211
Hippopotamus Attacking a Raft ......... 137 Interview between Baker Pacha and Rionga 213
A Night Attack by a River-horse ........ .138 Water-bottle ........ ................ 214
Tying Up Ivories for the March ........... 140 Gourds of different Shapes ................ 215
Removing a Village ................ 141 Lake Scene in Central Africa ........... 216
A Nyam-Nyam Dog ..................... 142 Scene on the Shores of Lake Tanganyika .. 218
Singular Head-dress of a Nyam-Nyam.... 144 A Lake Village ........................ 220
Hut for Boys. ......................... 145 Lake Fishes of Central Africa ........... 221
A Nyam-Nyam Granary ................ 145 A Fisherman Ready for Work ........... 222
An Akka W arrior ..................... 146 A Fish-basket ......................... 223
Dr. Schweinfurth's Pygmy ........ .... 147 A Village Chief .......... ............ 224
Standing for his Portrait ................ 148 Native Heads ................... .... 225
Crossing a Marsh ...................... 149 On the Shore of the Lake............... 226
A Wet Road ......................... 150 An Island in the Lake .................. 228
A Snake in Camp ....... ........... ..... 152 A Flock of Cranes ..................... 230
Scene near Afuddo ................... 153 Fred's Second Prize ................ .. 231
A Caravan of an Ivory-trader ............ 156 A Pair of Kingfishers at Home.......... 232
An Ivory Porter .................. ... .... 158 Fish-eagle on a Hippopotamus Trap ...... 233
The Central African Steamer Khedive ..... .161 Central African Yam .................. .235
Winwood Reade's Ox and Hammock Train 163 Potato and Yam Fields .................. 235
Near the Shore of the Lake ............. 165 The Kilnokv ....................... 236
Crossing a Small Stream ................. 166 Young Polypterus ................... .. 237
An Attraction for a Hyena ............. .168 Lake Mohrya, with Villages ............. 238
Attack in an Ambuscade. ............... 170 A House in the Water .................. 239
Two of our Porters. ..................... 172 Ideal Representation of a Swiss Lake-village 240
Antelope of the Shooli Country (Female) 173 Livingstone's House at Zanzibar ......... 241
Antelope of the Shooli Country (Male) .... 174 David Livingstone ................... .. 242
A Village Headman .................... 176 Chumi and Susi ....................... 244
An African Magician Superintending the Page from Livingstone's Last Journal..... 246
Slaughtering of an Ox............. ... .177 The Last Mile of Livingstone's Journey 248
A Native Ferry ....................... 178 Livingstone Entering the Hut where he Died 249
Net-hunting by the Shooli Tribe ...... .. .180 Fording a Swollen River ......... ...... 250
Driving Game before a Prairie Fire .......... 182 A Lion Killing Livingstone's Donkey...... 251
The River Bank ......................... 184 "Goree," or Slave-stick ............... 252
Frank's Bird ................... ...... 185 Manner of Fettering a Gang of Slaves. ... 253
Rocky Hills. .................. ....... 185 Slavers Avenging their Losses ........... 254
Quilimane, at the Mouth of the Zambesi ... 255 King of Ugunda Retiring ............... 327
View on the Navigable Part of the Zam- Native of Ugunda, with Hunting Spear .... 328
besi ................ ................ 257 The K ing's M usicians................... 329
The Great Falls of Mosi-oa-tunya ......... 259 Visitors in the Zeriba .................. 330
Bird's-eye View of Mosi-oa-tunya ......... 261 Captain Speke Attending a Review of the
Caravan Crossing a Plain ........... .263 Ugunda Troops .................. ... 332
Scene in an African Village .......... .... 264 Henry M. Stanley ........... .... ..... 335
Crossing a River on a Fallen Tree ........ 266 On the Road to the. Lake. ............... 336
Goatsucker (" Cosmetornis Spekii")....... .267 Ugunda Boat ................... .... 338
A Camp near the Hills .............. 269 View of Murchison Creek ............... 339
Kawend6 Surgery...................... 270 Hills Back from the Lake............... 340
A Pair of Sham Demons .................. 272 Elephant's Foot," or Gouty-limbed," Tree 341
An African Band of Music ............. 273 Trees and Climbing Plants in Central Africa 343
Sham Demons Ready for Business .......... 274 Charging a Retort in a Gas Factory ...... 345
View on the Road ...................... 276 Diagram of Gas-works .......... ..... 346
The King's Residence .................... 277 Frank's Gas-retort .................... ..... 347
Kabba Rega's Attack and Defeat ......... 279 Seeing the Show ................. ..... 348
Thatched Hut in Rionga's Village ........ 280 M'tesa's Idea for Crossing Africa ......... 350
The Country Back from the River ......... 281 Returning from an Excursion. ........... 351
Crossing a River in Unyoro .............. 283 The King's Slaves Carrying Fuel and Cut-
Effect of a Long Rain in Africa.-Animals ting Rice .......................... 353
Seeking Safety ....................... 285 An African Drum-corps ................. 354
Sunset on Lake Tchad .................... 287 Lake Scenery in Central Africa........ ... 356
Scene on the Niger at Say ............ ... 288 Kambari Fish .......... .. ............... 357
View of Kabara, the Port of Timbuctoo ... 289 Fred's Experiment in Cooking Fish ....... 359
Timbuctoo, from the Terrace of the House On the Lake .................. ... 360
Occupied by Dr. Barth................ 291 Jack ................................. 361
A Village on the Guinea Coast .......... 294 Ripon Falls: the Nile Flowing Out of the
Scene near Lake Tchad ............... 295 Victoria N'yanza .............. ...... 363
An Amazon of Dahomey .................. 297 A Group of Hippopotami ............... 365
1, the Tsetse; 2, the same, Magnified; 3, its Ready for Business ..................... 366
Proboscis ........................... 299 Trouble in the Rhinoceros Family ... ... 367
Colonel Long's Battle at M'rooli ... .... 301 Bad for the Dog ....... ............. 368
Colonel Long's Companions at M'rooli . 302 Rhinoceros Heads ...................... 369
A Group of Kidi Men .................... 303 Speke Delivering the Spoils of his Hunt to
A Substitute for the Horse. .... ... 304 King Rumanika ..................... 372
Approaching Camp..................... 305 In Captivity............................ 373
A Queen of Ugunda Dragged to Execution 307 Village and Villagers .................. 376
Kamrasi's First Lesson in the Bible. ...... 308 An Unpleasant Encounter ................ 377
Mountains in the Distance ................ 310 Antelopes among the Marshes near Usavara 380
Villages in the Hilly Country ............ 312 Native of Unyamwezi. ................... 382
Flag of Ugunda ...................... 313 Natives of the Islands .................. 384
Long's First Visit to M'tesa ......... .315 Boats for Lake Navigation .............. 385
Ugunda Boy ... ...... ................. 316 An African Soko ..... ................. 386
View of M'tesa's Palace from Doctor Bron- Arms and Ornaments ............... 387
son's Zeriba. .................... .... 318 View of the Uplands in Karague ....... 389
A Warrior of Ugunda .................. 319 The Lady Alice, in Sections ........ .... 390
View of Rubaga from the Great Road ..... 320 Native Village on the Gold Coast ......... 392
A Reception at the Court of King M'tesa .. 323 Cape Coast Castle ............. ...... 394
A Tree of Ugunda .................. 324 Monrovia, Liberia. ...... .............. 395
A Daughter of King M'tesa ........... .. 325 Free Town, Sierra Leone .......... .... 396
A Street in Coomassie .............. ... 397 Stanley's Voyage on the Livingstone.-Bat-
A Village in Ashantee. .................. 398 tie with the Natives .................. 439
"Young Guinea" ........................ 399 Frank Pocock, Stanley's Companion on the
Fantee Gentleman and Soldier ......... 400 Livingstone ......................... 440
The Burning of Coomassie ............... 401 Stanley's Expedition Recuperated and Re-
A Belle of the Guinea Coast .............. 402 clad after Crossing the "Dark Continent" 441
View of Elmina, on the Gold Coast ........ 403 Trading Station on the West Coast of Africa 443
Native of Cape Colony. ................. 405 Curious Head-dress .................... 444
Emigrating to the South African Wilder- The Height of Fashion .............. 445
ness ........................... .. 406 The First Cataract of the Livingstone ..... 447
The "March of Civilization"................ 407 Stanley's Expedition Descending the Living-
Scene in the South African Diamond Mines 409 stone .............................. 448
Driving a Flock of Ostriches. ............. 411 A Deserter Brought Back .......... ... 450
The Ostrich and its Hunters ............. 412 A Native Guard ................... .. 451
Hunting under Disadvantages. ........ .. 415 Said bin Amir's House ................. 452
What Fred hoped for ............... ... 416 Getting Ready for the Road ............. 454
The Ostrich's Natural Enemy ...... .... 417 Halting-place under a Sycamore .......... 455
One of the Guides .................... 419 A House in Unyamyembe ............... 456
A Royal Residence in Unyamwezi ........ 420 Unvamwezi Heads ..................... 457
War Dance of Mirambo's Followers ....... 422 Members of the Caravan ............ .. 458
Natives Bringing Provisions for Sale ...... 423 Grinding Meal for Supper ................ 459
A Protected Village ................... 425 Storehouse for Grain ................... 460
The Zebra at Home .................... 426 An African Ferry ...................... 461
An African Temb ..................... 428 Crossing a Plain....................... 462
Manyuema Hunters Killing Sokos ........ 429 A Pond by the Wayside ................ 464
Rocks by the Wayside .................. 431 Capturing a Leopard .............. ... 465
Crossing a Stream .................... 432 Ugogo Heads, with Distended Ears ....... 466
Weapons of the Natives ................ 433 Women of Ubudjwa. .................. 467
Man of Massi Kambi ................... 434 Crossing a River on a Fish-weir ... ...... 468
Hill-country near Mirambo's Capital ...... 435 Camp on the Edge of the Makata Swamp .. 469
Porters and Woman and Child of Usagaru 436 View of Zanzibar from the Sea .......... 471
Hut at Kifuma ........................ 437 From Bagamoya to Zanzibar. ............. 473
THE BOY TRAVELLERS
PREPARATIONS FOR TIE JOURNEY.-FROM CAIRO TO KOROSKO.
"TlHE carriage is ready, gentlemen !"
S" Has all the baggage been sent to the boat ?"
Yes, sir," was the reply; "all except the case of instruments that
you wished to keep with you."
"All right !" was the cheery re-
sponse. We are ready to start, and
will not keep the carriage waiting."
This conversation occurred on the
veranda of a hotel at Cairo, the capital
of Egypt, and once renowned as the
City of the Caliphs. The first speaker
was Ali, a bright boy of Abyssinian
birth, and formerly a slave, while the
second was Doctor Bronson, a gentle-
man whose name is familiar to all read-
ers of The Boy Travellers in the Far
East." By his side were Frank Bassett
and Fred Bronson, the youths who were
guided through Asia by the good Doc-
tor, and had made the journey to Egypt TE CARRIAGE IS READY!"
and the Holy Land in his company.
Frank and Fred could hardly be called youths any longer, as Frank
was quite as tall as the Doctor, while Fred was only an inch or two less
14 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
in stature. The boys who set out one morning for Japan and China
had now grown to be young men; but Frank insisted that they were
still boys, and should so consider
--- themselves till they had passed their
S- majority. There had been some bad-
inage between them relative to that
momentous period in a young man's
existence when he makes his first es-
Ssay with a razor. Frank had depicted
Sl his cousin seated in front of a mir-
ror, uncertain whether to shave or
dye, while Fred had retorted with a
caricature in which a cat and a cream-
jug had prominent places. We will
~" \comply with the wishes of Frank
FRED'S QUANIDARY, and call them "boys" during the
journey they are about commencing.
The carriage drove rapidly along the broad street leading to Boolak,
the landing-place of the Nile steamboats, and frequently called the Port
of Cairo. The boys were familiar with the scenes of this busy thorough-
fare and paid little attention to them, as their thoughts were occupied
with the journey of which this ride
was the beginning. As they passed
the Museum of Antiquities, Frank
recalled to Fred their first visit to :
that interesting place, and the de-
lightful hours they had spent in
studying the souvenirs of Ancient
Egypt. "If we were not pressed for
time," he added, "I would greatly
like to stop there a little while, just "
to refresh my memory."*
The steamer was lying at the riv- THE FIRST SHAVE.
er-bank, and the smoke from her
funnel told that she was about ready for departure. As our friends
stepped on the deck of the boat they were met by their dragoman, who
For a description of the Museum at Boolak and the monuments of Ancient Egypt,
see "The Boy Travellers in Egypt and the Holy Land." Published by Harper &
UP THE NILE. 15
told the Doctor that all the heavy baggage had been stowed below,
while the light articles needed on the voyage would be found in their
cabins. Consequently, our friends had little to do for the half-hour that
intervened before the departure of the steamer. The Doctor went to
the hold to give a glance at the bales and boxes deposited there, and
then, accompanied by Fred and Frank, made a tour of the cabins, to make
sure nothing had been forgotten. The dragoman was a trusty servant,
but Doctor Bronson had learned from practical experience that perpetual
vigilance is an important requisite for travelling in wild countries.
The Nile voyage was not a new one to our friends, and as the story
of their adventures has already been told in a previous volume, we will
not repeat them here. As we are in the land of the Arabian Nights
we will borrow the Enchanted Carpet and wish our friends at the land-
ing-place at Korosko, about half way between the first and second Cata-
racts of the Nile.
One, two, three, and here we are !
It was early one forenoon when the steamboat stopped in front of
Korosko, and the youths were permitted to step to the shore. Abdul,
the dragoman, had arranged by telegraph with a merchant of Korosko
for the temporary storage of the baggage of the party and for a lodging-
place for the travellers, until camels could be obtained for their journey
over the Desert. The merchant was at the landing to meet them, with
a force of some thirty or more porters to place the baggage on shore
and carry it to his warehouse, a hundred yards away. In spite of the
large number of men it required several hours for landing and storing
everything. A journey into the interior of Africa is a serious affair, as
the traveller requires a great many things which are not needed in most
"We are going where there are few resources," said the Doctor to
his young friends weeks before, when they were making their plans
for the journey, and unless we would suffer we must be well provided
"First of all, we need money, just as we need it for travel in any
Of course we do,"' said Frank; but there are no bankers in Africa,
and our letters of credit will be of no use."
But we can take plenty of gold and silver," said Fred, "and per-
haps we shall want a few camel-loads of copper coin."
Even that will not answer," replied Doctor Bronson, with a smile,
Sas the coin of civilized lands is unknown in Africa."
16 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
"What must we carry, then," Frank asked, "if bankers' credits are
of no use, and coin does not circulate ?"
"We must carry the money of Africa," was the reply, "and here
Frank took the sheet of paper the Doctor held in his hand and read
aloud to his cousin :
"' Beads of different kinds and colors, put up and labelled, so that the
contents of each package can be known at a glance. Every tribe of
negroes in Africa has tastes of its own, and beads that find ready circu-
lation in one region are worthless in another.
"'Cotton cloths of different kinds, white, gray, striped, and in all
tle colors and combinations of the rainbow.
Gaudy handkerchiefs, and the gaudier they are the better for pur-
poses of trade. In packing them for transportation they should be
placed in the bales with the cloths, which should also be made up in as-
sorted lots, so that when a bale is opened several kinds of goods may be
"'Pocket-mirrors, copper wire, in rolls and of different sizes; small
tools, fish-hooks, cheap watches, brass jewellery, mechanical toys, sleigh-
bells, knives, hatchets, and other edged tools that can be easily carried
"Something to amuse the natives is next on the list," the Doctor
remarked, as Frank paused for a moment, and it is often of great ad-
vantage to amuse them."
"' A dozen musical boxes of small size, and one large one, playing
several tunes,' continued Frank, reading from the paper.
"I suppose the small ones are for presents," said Fred, "and the
large one is to be exhibited on great occasions, when we have company ?"
"Exactly so," replied the Doctor; "it will be a convenient means
of entertaining savages, especially when we cannot converse with them.
You observe that I have included in the list of desirable things a
magic-lantern and a telephone, with half a mile of wire and all the ap-
paratus complete. They are easy to carry, and their performances will
be as interesting as those of the music-boxes."
"'Cloth, beads, caps, tools, toys, and trinkets are what we need for
traffic with the natives and paying our expenses,"' read Frank as he
turned the sheet of paper. Now we come to what we want for our
"' Tea and coffee, in air-tight cans of not more than a pound each, so
that they will not be spoiled by the climate; preserved meats and vege-
Q- __ __ __
C AN_____ _CARAV
CAMPP AND CRAVAN
18 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
tables, sugar, spices, pepper, sauces, vinegar, matches, soap, candles, and a
few other things, the fewer the better. Everything we carry must be
enclosed in tin cases, so as to protect it from dampness, as the climate of
Central Africa is ruinous to all articles that absorb moisture.
"'Rifles, shot-guns, and pistols, with plenty of ammunition. The
rifles and shot-guns of the Remington system, using fixed ammunition.'"
One of the boys asked what was meant by "fixed ammunition."
"The cartridges are made up," the Doctor explained, and are all
ready for use. The powder is in a shell of copper or brass, with the
explosive cap in one end and the bullet or shot firmly wedged in the
other. The cartridges are impervious to water, and can be kept a long
time without detriment."
We must have a large quantity," said Frank, and even then we
might find our supply running short, with no chance of renewal."
"Certainly that might happen," was the reply, "and we can guard
against it by having a few dozens of steel shells made like the copper
ones, and with nipples for ordinary percussion-caps. These shells can
be reloaded many times. We can carry powder in tin canisters, caps in
boxes, and moulds for casting bullets, and then, with a few bars of lead
in our possession, we shall be independent of fixed ammunition from
"We will have one heavy rifle, carrying a very large ball, for shoot-
ing elephants, and a special supply of ammunition to fit it. The rest of
the rifles will be all alike, so that there will be no trouble about getting
hold of the wrong ammunition when starting out for a day's hunt.
The same will be the case with the shot-guns, and we will observe a
similar rule in regard to the revolvers."
Frank next read a list of medicines intended for the maladies to
which human nature is ordinarily liable. Last and greatest of all was
"sulphate of quinine." The quantity seemed altogether out of propor-
tion to the rest of the stock, and he naturally asked Doctor Bronson
why he carried so much of it.
"Africa is a land of fevers," replied the Doctor, and has a bad
reputation among travellers on this account alone. The equatorial rains
make the climate exceedingly moist, and the exhalations from the soil
are detrimental to the health of all Europeans. We shall be likely to
suffer from fevers, and you know that quinine is the great remedy for
fever. It has saved many a life, and its absence has caused many a
death. When we begin our journey we must each of us carry a small
supply of the drug in our pockets, and be ready to use it intelligently.
COMPLETING THE LIST. 19
Each must be able to administer it to the other; and our personal ser-
vants should be instructed how to act whenever they see us suffering
from the hot-blooded visitor. We will have more talk on this subject
when we approach Central Africa."
Then came a list of clothing, tents, camp equipage, and kindred
things that would be needed. Frank remarked that Africa must be
a land of rain, or they would not require so many water-proof gar-
ments, and Fred added that it was not as hot as it was reputed to be,
or they would not carry so many blankets. The Doctor explained that
in the elevated regions of Africa the nights were almost always cool,
even though the days might be sultry, and the traveller who ventured
there without plenty of warm covering was liable to suffer.
A GROUP OF PORTERS.
The last entry on the paper was, that no package should weigh more
than fifty pounds. Fred asked the reason for this rule, as he had un-
derstood a camel could carry seven or eight hundred pounds' burden
without difficulty, provided he was in good condition and of full size.
20 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
That is true," said Doctor Bronson, "but we can't go all the way
with camels. In the interior of Africa our baggage must be carried by
porters; and the load for a man is limited to sixty pounds, and ought
not to exceed fifty. Of course it sometimes happens that elephants'
tusks and other articles weigh more than sixty pounds, but for such
burdens the strongest men are selected, and a higher price is usually
"These porters are known as 'pagazi,' and are a necessary adjunct
of every expedition in the interior of Africa. Sometimes it is impossible
to procure a sufficient number, and the traveller may be delayed weeks
or months while waiting for them. On the road they must be watched
very carefully, to see that they do not desert with their burdens; and, in
order to prevent this, the rear of a caravan must be brought up by a
trusty guard. A great part of the troubles of all African explorers is
due to the pagazi, and more than one expedition has been completely
broken up by their misconduct.
Sometimes they desert in a body, and the traveller who has gone
to sleep, with a hundred or more porters in his employ, has risen in the
morning to find his camp deserted and not a man to be found. In this
dilemma he must wait till new porters can be hired, or he may be obliged
to destroy a large part of his goods."
Wouldn't it be possible for him to sell them to some of the native
chiefs in such an emergency, instead of destroying them ?" one of the
"Perhaps he could do so," the Doctor answered; but he would
obtain a very small price for them, as the chiefs would know he was in
a great strait and must be rid of them. Such a practice would encour-
age desertions, as the local chiefs would be in collusion with the porters,
and no traveller could get through in safety. It is an invariable rule
with the Portuguese and Arab traders in Central Africa to destroy all
goods that they are unable to carry by reason of the desertion of their
pagazi. It is their only way of insuring themselves against certain loss
in future journeys, and they are very particular in observing it."
Frank asked if they were to have any scientific instruments, such as
were usually carried by explorers in strange countries. Doctor Bronson
replied that they would certainly do so, but he had not yet made out
his list of what would be wanted.
For the first part of our journey," said the Doctor, "we shall be
in a region that has been explored sufficiently, so that its principal geo-
graphical positions are known, and there will be very little occasion for
A STOCK OF SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS. 21
instruments. But later on our route will be much like a voyage on the
ocean, and we must find out 'by observation,' as the navigators say,
where we are. For this purpose we can imagine that we are going on
a ship, and must have the instruments that a ship usually carries."
"I understand," said Fred. "We will have a quadrant or a sextant
for ascertaining the position of the sun, just as a captain does at sea.
But will the irregular line of the land serve us for a horizon, as the
line between sea and sky serves the mariner ?"
"Certainly not," answered the Doctor, with a smile; "and to meet
this difficulty we employ the artificial horizon."
"How is it made ?" one of the youths inquired.
"It is a very simple affair," the Doctor answered; "it is nothing
but a horizontal mirror, and is constructed in two or three ways. It
may be an ordinary mirror or looking-glass, in a frame adjusted upon
screws and set round with spirit-levels, so that it can be brought to the
proper position, or it may be a basin of mercury. A tub of water may
be made to answer in an emergency, but it is not easy to get a reflection
from it of sufficient distinctness for purposes of observation. With the
artificial horizon and a sextant the altitude of the sun or of a star may
be readily obtained. Half the angular distance between a star and its
image in the artificial horizon is equal to the altitude of a star above
the real horizon."
"But there's another trouble," said Frank. "At sea the navigator
knows the run of his ship by means of the log, as we learned when we
crossed the Pacific Ocean in our journey to Japan and China. How
are we to throw the log' when travelling on land ?"
"That is an easy matter," was the reply. "We will have several
pedometers, or instruments for counting the steps. They are about the
size of an ordinary watch, and worn in the pocket in the same way.
Every step taken by the wearer is registered, and by knowing the length
of our steps we can get very near the distance travelled. The pedometer
is only approximative, and not exact, and the same is the case with the
log on a ship.
"A famous African explorer, Dr. Schweinfurth, once had the mis-
fortune to lose his instruments and all the records of his journey by fire.
For six months after that calamity he counted his footsteps, noting
hundreds by means of his fingers, and making a stroke in his note-book
on reaching five hundred. The second five hundred was recorded by
making a reverse stroke on the previous one, so as to form a cross, and
in this way at the end of a day's journey every thousand steps he had
__ _____________________ z
DR. SCHWEINFURTH ASCENDING THE NILE
MEASURING DISTANCE BY FOOTSTEPS. 23
taken was shown by a cross. He thus made account of a million and a
quarter paces in the six months that he continued the practice.
Dr. Schweinfurth says that the steps of a man are a more accurate
standard of measurement than those of an animal. The camel, when
urged to its full speed, does not increase the number of his paces but
their length; while those of a man, at whatever rate he walks, are about
= --- --- --=------ ___-.
AN AFRICAN HORIZON.
the same. He suggests that any one may satisfy himself on this point
by measuring his own footsteps in moist ground. He.will find them
varying very little, no matter what the rate of speed. Dr. Schweinfurth
says his steps varied, according to the nature of the road, from twenty-
four to twenty-eight inches, and we may set this down as the average
step of a man of medium height.
"In addition to sextants and pedometers, we will have a complete
apparatus for taking photographs, with plenty of dry plates, sensitive
paper, and the other necessary materials; then we must have a stock of
compasses, barometers, and thermometers; and we must not forget an
anemometer, an instrument for measuring the force of the wind. One
of our compasses must be an azimuth, which resembles the marine com-
pass, but has a more accurate graduation, and is provided with vertical
sights, so that the variation of the needle may be detected. This is
done by observing the position of a star through the sights, and compar-
24 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
ing its azimuth, or point on the horizon, with the direction of the needle.
The position of the star being known, the computation is easy."
Doctor Bronson explained that the instruments, tents, fire-arms, and
personal outfits could not be procured in Egypt, but must be ordered
from London or Paris. The bulk of the provisions might be obtained
in Cairo or Alexandria, but the character of the supplies could not always
be relied upon. Consequently it was decided to make the list as complete
as possible and ship everything from the English and French capitals, so
that they would not be delayed at Cairo. Of course there would be some
deficiencies, and these could be filled from the Cairo market before the
date of departure. The plan was carried out without accident.
We have seen our friends on their way to Central Africa, and have
now landed them safely at Korosko.
A VILLAGE IN "THE DARK CONTINENT."
FORMING A CARAVAN. 25
LEAVING KOROSKO.-EARLY EXPLORERS OF THE NILE VALLEY.
T HE preparations for leaving Korosko required several days. Camels
were to be hired, loads distributed, and drivers and servants engaged.
A great many small details consumed the time of our friends, from the
hour of their arrival till their departure. Twenty camels were engaged,
sixteen for baggage and four for riding purposes, three of the latter being
for the Doctor and the boys, and one for the dragoman. The boy Ali
was assigned to a place on one of the baggage camels, as he was consid-
ered too young to have a saddle animal all to himself.
1 --h\\\f -- _-- -- -
THE NATIVE AT HOME.
Twenty camels make a respectable procession, and the boys were in
high glee when they saw their beasts of burden drawn up in line, ready
for departure. Fourteen of the baggage camels were sent away one
evening, and our friends started early the following morning with the
rest of the train. This included their saddle camels and the two animals
that carried the things they would need on the journey from day to day.
26 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
A glance at the map of Nubia will show a great bend in the Nile
between Korosko and Aboo Hamed. Boats ascending the river and
following this bend often consume three or four weeks, while the ride
over the Desert can be made in from six to nine days. There are three
cataracts in this part of the river. They are impassable except during
the rise of the Nile, and even then their ascent is a tedious and expen-
sive affair. Consequently the principal route of travel and commerce
is through the Desert.
There was no trouble in keeping the road, as it is well known to the
guides and camel-drivers, and is annually traversed by great numbers of
people. The dragoman, Abdul, had been over the route repeatedly,
sometimes with small parties, and on two occasions with expeditions
that the Egyptian Government had sent to the Upper Nile and the lake
regions of Central Africa. Frank and Fred were greatly interested in the
details of these expeditions, and listened eagerly to Abdul's account of them
and the difficulties of transporting heavy articles over the Desert sands.
At their first halt on the journey from Korosko, Abdul told them of
his experience with the expedition of Sir Samuel Baker, for the suppres-
sion of the slave-trade in the Soudan country, some years ago, which was
about as follows:
"In 1869-'70 Sir Samuel Baker was sent by Ismail Pacha, Khedive
of Egypt, to suppress the slave-trade in the regions where we are now
going. In order that he should do so effectively he was provided with
a small army, and a suitable equipment of steamers for navigating the
river, together with a large stock of goods for opening legitimate trade.
Most of the slave-traders were Arab subjects of the Khedive, and their
centre of business was at Khartoum."
Fred asked how many men were engaged in the business.
"As to that," said- Abdul, "it is not easy to say. The merchants of
Khartoum had organized a sort of military force for capturing the ne-
groes and bringing them to market, and one of them was reported to
have twenty-five hundred men in his pay. They were armed and drilled
like soldiers, though not very thoroughly disciplined, and were divided
into companies sufficiently strong to overpower any African village, and
make prisoners of such of the inhabitants as they wished to carry to
market. Altogether, it was thought that fifteen thousand subjects of the
Khedive had left their honest occupations and were engaged, directly or
indirectly, in the slave-trade."
"They must have occupied a great deal of country," said Frank, "for
so many of them to be engaged in the traffic."
THE SLAVE-TRADE IN CENTRAL AFRICA. 27
That is true," replied Abdul. Every trader had a district to him-
self, and his men were divided into companies, with a chain of stations or
military posts. They could thus hold sway over an immense area. One
slave-trader named Agad controlled a region containing ninety thousand
square miles, and another had a territory nearly as large.
There was an agreement among the traders that they would not dis-
turb each other's territory; they sometimes got into trouble and fought
among themselves, but this was not often, as they had quite enough to do
to kill and capture the natives. Each man in his own region could do
what he chose, and the business had all the horrible features that the
slave-trade has everywhere."
One of the boys asked how many slaves were taken from Central
Africa every year, and where the slaves were carried.
28 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
"It was estimated by Sir Samuel Baker," replied Abdul, that not
less than fifty thousand slaves were carried every year from the interior
to the sea-coast, or kept in the camps of the slave-traders. The capture
of fifty or a hundred slaves means the destruction of one or more villages,
and the death of fifty or a hundred innocent persons while the destruc-
tion is going on. The traders induce tribes that would otherwise be at
peace to make war on each other, by agreeing to buy all the prisoners.
Whole districts are depopulated, life and property are insecure, and for
every slave that is brought away it is safe to say that three or four of his
kindred have been killed or die of starvation. It was a noble impulse of
the Khedive to put an end to this state of affairs and remove the stigma
of slave-dealing from his country."
- " .U.L "- :- "- - ----
A SLAVE-GANG ON THE ROAD.
"But they still have slavery in Egypt, do they not inquired one
of the boys.
"Yes," was the reply, "slavery exists here, as Egypt is a Moslem
-country, and the Koran expressly allows it. But the form is growing
milder every year, as the government does not protect it. Under Is-
mail Pacha a man might keep slaves, but if they ran away from him he
could not call the police to assist in their capture, as he formerly was
able to do. If they chose to stay away they could do so, without fear of
being taken back; the result was that every slave-owner was obliged to
treat his human property so kindly that there would be no inducement
to leave him. Traffic in slaves is not permitted, and consequently the
institution is not flourishing, and will soon disappear altogether.
BAKER'S EXPEDITION. 29
The efforts of Livingstone, Stanley, and other travellers in Central
Africa have done much to throw light on the slave-trade, and to per-
suade some of the African kings and chiefs to abandon it. The only
Europeans who encourage it at all now are the Portuguese traders,
who have their stations on the east coast of Africa, and even their sup-
port to it is generally given in an underhand way. The most exten-
sive slave-dealers are the Arabs, who are not troubled by any religious
scruples on the subject, and find a market for their captives among
people of similar belief with themselves.
When we get fairly into Central Africa you will probably see
something of the system of slavery; so we'll drop the subject now, and
I'll tell you how Baker's expedition was fitted out.
"Baker received the rank of Pacha, with absolute authority for four
years, from April 1, 1869, and was instructed to subdue the countries
lying south of Gondokoro, suppress the slave-trade, and introduce a sys-
tem of regular commerce; open the great lakes near the equator to
navigation, and establish military and commercial posts throughout the
"Baker had already been in Central Africa and travelled in the re-
gion of the lakes, and consequently he knew something of the difficulties
he would encounter. He made grand preparations, which consumed so
much time, and were followed by so many delays, that nearly a year
elapsed before he left Khartoum for the south."
Fred asked if the expedition went up the Nile by way of Korosko,
or by another route.
"Part of it went that way," said Abdul, and the rest by Suakim,
on the Red Sea. From Suakim there is a road across the Desert to
Berber, in Abyssinia. Berber is on the Nile, and from there the river
is navigable to Khartoum. I was with the part of the expedition that
ascended the Nile, so that I am familiar with Korosko and the route
to Aboo Hamed. Khartoom, at the junction of the Blue and White
Nile, was selected as the point of departure, and all the supplies for the
expedition were sent there.
"Everything had to be carried over the Desert, and it was an im-
mense affair, I assure you. Six steamboats were sent from Cairo, and
three others for navigating the lakes were brought from England, and
carried in sections, so that they could be put together at the points
where wanted. The boilers of the steamers were found too heavy to
be transported on the backs of camels, and it was necessary to mount
them on wheels, to which camels were harnessed.
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BAKERS FXPEDITION CROSSINCT THE DESERT.
MARCHING OVER THE DESERT. 31
"Hundreds of camels were required for carrying all this material,
and when the train was on the march it covered the Desert for miles
and miles. It was necessary to have many extra camels, to guard against
the breaking down of any of the loaded ones, as the loss of a single piece
of a boat or its machinery might render all the rest of little or no use.
The military part of the expedition comprised about sixteen hun-
dred soldiers, with two batteries of artillery; but so many of the soldiers
were found unfit for duty, that half of them were sent back or left be-
hind at Khartoum. Baker finally selected forty men to serve as a body-
guard, and they proved to be excellent soldiers, and of more use than all
the rest that had been sent to serve him. This small force of picked
men was known as The Forty.' They were not of the best charac-
ter, and some of their performances when off duty caused them to be
called 'The Forty Thieves' by the English-speaking members of the
It was expected that there would be much opposition among the
merchants of Khartoum when they learned the object for which Baker
Pacha had been sent to the Soudan. Of course it would not do for
them to declare open hostility, but they could hinder the enterprise in
various ways. When Baker arrived at Khartoum he found that the
traders had sent away all the boatmen, as they knew the expedition
could not move without boats. The police and military were employed
to hunt them up, and of course much valuable time was lost in so doing.
"When they finally got away from Khartoum they had two steam-
ers and thirty-six sailing-boats. The steamers had each a sailing-boat in
tow, and on one of these boats was the commander of the expedition,
accompanied by his wife, Lady Baker, and the officers of his staff.
"I was with the officers on the other boat, and the two steamers
pushed along, with their tows, leaving the sailing craft to follow as fast
as they could. We went up what is called the White Nile. Khartoum
is at the junction of the Blue and White Nile, the landing-place being
on the former stream. The Blue Nile was long supposed to be the prin-
cipal branch of the river. It was explored by Bruce, who traced it to its
source, and thought he had found the spot where the Nile takes its rise."
Frank remarked that one of his school-books contained a picture of
Bruce standing by the side of a spring not more than a yard across, from
which a rivulet was flowing.
Fred said he had read something about Bruce, and was sorry he had
forgotten exactly what it was.
"Perhaps I can help you," responded Doctor Bronson. "James Bruce
32 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
was born at Kinnaird, in Scotland, in 1730, and died there in 1794. He
was educated for a lawyer, but never practised his profession. His tastes
ran in the direction of Oriental languages and literature, and after study-
ing them for some years he was appointed Consul-general for Algiers.
He remained there for two years, and then travelled in Tunis, Tripoli,
Palestine, Syria, and Egypt, spending nearly five years in Egypt and
Abyssinia in an effort to find the sources of the Nile. The Bahr-el-Azrek,
or Blue Nile, was then supposed to be the main stream, and Bruce fol-
lowed it to its source.
When this work was accomplished he returned to England, to tell
the story of his discovery. It was published in 1790, under the title,
'Travels to Discover the Sources of the Nile, in the Years 1768-'73,' and
was in five quarto volumes."
"IHe must have become famous as soon as the book appeared," one
of the boys remarked.
"Unfortunately for him," replied Doctor Bronson, "his statements
were questioned, and he received far more abuse than praise. Some of
his accounts were set down as absolute falsehoods, and Bruce died four
years later, before the imputation had been disproved. Subsequent trav-
ellers have confirmed the truth of his narrative, and given Bruce an hon-
ored place on the roll of African explorers."
"Was Bruce the first white man who ever saw the head-springs of
the Blue Nile ?" Frank asked.
'"No," was the reply; "they were visited by the Portuguese mis-
sionary, Paez, in the sixteenth century, but no detailed account of his
journey was ever published in our language. He went to Abyssinia in
1603, where he founded a mission, and remained until his death, in 1622.
He was in great favor with the King, whom he accompanied on his mili-
tary expeditions, and it was on one of these journeys, in 1618, that he
visited the springs of the Blue Nile. The account was published in
Paris, in 1667, under the title, Dissertation touchant l'Origine du Nil,'
and may be regarded as the earliest work of an explorer of the mysterious
SHow about Herodotus and Strabo ?" said Fred.
"They can hardly be called explorers of the Nile," the Doctor an-
swered, as they made no attempt to ascend the river. Neither of them
went beyond the first cataract, or at any rate Strabo did not, and the
accounts of both writers are largely composed of what they gathered
from others rather than what they saw with their own eyes. Their works
are the best that have come down to us from their time, and we learned
C. -.,_ __-_- ___
"THE FORTY THIEVES.
34 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
at the site of Memphis how a passage in Strabo's writings gave Mariette
Bey the clew which led to the discovery, in 1860, of the Apis Mausoleum.*
"After Bruce," the Doctor continued, "the next traveller of note in
the upper regions of the Nile was Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a Swiss
professor, who was educated at Leipzig and Gottingen, and devoted the
best part of his life to the exploration of Africa. He is thought to have
been the first European not a Moslem to visit Mecca, and at the time
of his death, at Cairo, in 1817, he was planning an expedition to the
sources of the Niger. He travelled in Nubia and portions of Abyssinia,
but did not penetrate so far inland as Bruce had gone before him. Much
of the time he went in the disguise of an Arab, sometimes as a merchant,
and sometimes as a sheikh, and he was enabled to do this by his perfect
knowledge of Arabic. I think I told you something about his visit to
Mecca while we were coming up the Red Sea, on our way from India
Both the youths recalled the brief account which the Doctor had
given them of the perils of a journey to Mecca, and the names of those
who had succeeded in reaching there. The mention of Mecca drew from
Abdul an anecdote which illustrated the danger of attempting to travel
among fanatical Moslems under the pretence of being of their religion.
"Several years ago," said he, "I was at Jeddah, the port of Mecca,
at the time of the pilgrimage to the birthplace of Mohammed. A steam-
er from Suez brought a crowd of pilgrims, and I happened to be at the
landing-place when they came on shore.
There was a tall man among them whom I took for a Syrian Mos-
lem, and my belief was confirmed when he spoke to me in Arabic, with
just the accent I had heard at Jerusalem and Damascus. We talked a few
minutes, and he then walked away, and I never suspected him to be any-
thing but a. pious Moslem, on his way to Mecca.
As soon as he left me another pilgrim spoke to me, and said the tall
man was an impostor.
'How do you know?' I asked.
"'Because,' said the other, 'I have watched him saying his prayers
on the way from Suez, and he has twice missed the proper motions of
his hands when he bows toward Mecca. Once he placed his prayer-rug
at least a quarter of the way round from where it should have been, and
once he put his left foot down first when kneeling.'
"It was very certain the man was not a Moslem, as he would not
The Boy Travellers in Egypt and the Holy Land," p. 131.
A FRAUDULENT MOSLEM DISCOVERED. 35
make these mistakes if he had been brought up in the religion of the
Prophet. I hastened after him, told what I had heard, and warned him
of his danger. His character was already known ; he would be sure to be
pointed out, his deception known, and he would never return from Mecca,
if, indeed, he succeeded in getting there.
VIEW ON THE BAHR-EL-AZREK.
"IHe looked astonished for a moment, and acknowledged tlat he was
neither a Syrian nor a Moslem. He was a German traveller, who had
spent several years in Moslem countries, spoke Arabic fluently, and had
conceived the design of going to Mecca. With this object in view he
had learned the Moslem forms of prayer, so as to pass himself off for
one of 'the faithful,' but it seems he had not been sufficiently careful as
to the details. He thanked me for my caution, abandoned his trip to
Mecca, and concluded to go to Central Africa instead. What befell him
subsequently I never knew."
36 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
From this point the conversation wandered to various subjects, until
one of the party dropped asleep and another followed his example. This
occurrence led to a postponement of the story of Abdul's adventures with
Sir Samuel Baker, as it was advisable for all the members of the party to
get all the sleep they could when the opportunity offered. They fol-
lowed the native custom of travelling in the morning and afternoon, and
resting during the hottest part of the day.
PIM- O ---T OAT M
PILGRIMS ON THE ROAD TO MECCA.
FROM KOROSKO TO ABOO HAMED.-THE NILE AGAIN.-ADVENTURE WITH
T HE Desert journey from Korosko is not an affair to be undertaken
carelessly and without thoughtful preparation. The distance is
about two hundred and fifty miles, and is traversed in eight days. It is
necessary to carry water in goat-skins all the way, as there is only one
well or spring on the route, and the water from it is undrinkable by
man, and only endurable by the powerful stomach of the camel. Of
course, the supply was used very spar-
ingly; washing, except in sand, was
quite out of the question, and as none
of the party had a fondness for the
sand-bath, they made no ablutions till
reaching the Nile once more, except l
to moisten their eyes in the morning.
The skins of water were distributed
upon the camels, and each of the tray- -----
ellers had a small skin hanging at his
saddle-bow for a daily supply. By
the advice and example of the Doc- THE GUIDE IN THE DESERT.
tor each of the boys had an extra skin
of water hidden in his baggage, and its existence was carefully concealed
from the Arab drivers. These fellows are inclined t6 improvidence, and
had they known of this private provision they would have been certain to
count it as part of the regular supply, and expect to draw upon it.
The heat of the Desert and the glare of the sun incline the traveller
to thirst, and perhaps the knowledge of the necessity for economy is an
additional incentive to it. Human nature has curious ways, and the
desire for a thing generally increases in proportion to the difficulty of
procuring it. Frank and Fred found that the fact of the scarcity of
water, and the necessity of limiting their use of the precious fluid, in-
creased their longing for it. At first they yielded by taking occasional
38 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
draughts, but very soon they decided upon the old expedient of chewing
a bit of leather or some other hard substance, to create a flow of saliva to
moisten their lips. With a little self-denial, aided by the above practice,
they soon conquered their thirst, and were able to get along nearly as
well as the Arabs who accompanied them. Frank intimated that the
warmth of the water, and the flavor of goat-skin which it soon acquired,
had a material influence in lessening his desire for it.
The dreary waste of sand was partially relieved here and there by
ranges of hills or low mountains, but they were barren as the rest of the
Desert, and therefore made comparatively little variation in the land-
scape. There was not a cloud in the sky, and the sun poured its blister-
ing rays upon the travellers during all the time it was above the horizon.
In the morning and evening the heat was not intense, but in the middle
of the day it was like the blast of a furnace.
At first the jolting of the camels was disagreeable, but in a little while
the boys became accustomed to it, and tried to believe they were enjoying
themselves. The camels of easiest motion are selected for riding purposes,
and the youths were fortunate in their animals, which had been chosen
by Abdul. Frank had a very tall and powerful camel, while Fred was
on one little more than two-thirds the size of Frank's. The two animals
were friendly to each other, but not to their riders, and the boys soon
abandoned the attempt to establish social relations with their beasts of
burden. You may possibly be on good terms with them after a while,"
said Abdul, but you must be patient. You could hardly expect it under
a fortnight, and we ought to be in Aboo Hamed before that time. Most
camels hate Europeans instinctively, but are docile with Arabs, just as
mules are said to dislike white men and prefer the society of negroes."
On the second day of their journey Frank happened to look ahead,
and to his great surprise saw a beautiful lake, surrounded by groves of
He shouted to Frank, and then to the Doctor and Abdul, who were
riding just behind them.
Abdul quickened the pace of his camel, and was soon at Frank's side.
You told us there was no water on the road," said Frank, and there
is a lake right before us. I suppose it is filled with salt-water, and there-
fore doesn't count."
"Worse than salt water," responded Doctor Bronson, who joined
them. It isn't water at all, but a mirage."
Of course it is," Frank exclaimed, with a laugh; I ought to have
known better than be deceived by it."
A STORY OF A MIRAGE. 39
A MIRAGE IN THE DESERT.
"You are not the first to be deceived by it," said Abdul, and it has
been the cause of many deaths on this very route. Men have wandered
from the road, confident that they were on the borders of a lake or river,.
and have fallen exhausted to die on the ground. Colonel Long, in his ac-
count of his travels in Central Africa, tells of a regiment on its march,
from Korosko across this desert. The men saw these lakes of water
formed by the mirage; deceived by the illusion and maddened by thirst,
they broke from the ranks, in spite of the protests of their guide, and
went in search of water. They found their error too late, as most of then
perished of exhaustion and thirst."
Look at the graves along the road, and the bleaching bones of the-
camels," said the Doctor, and you will understand the perils of the
journey over the desert."
It was as Doctor Bronson suggested; the way was marked by thou-
sands of skeletons of the faithful beasts of burden that had fallen in the
service of their masters; and here and there, at painfully frequent in-
tervals, were the graves of men who had perished of thirst or of the
excessive heat. Even if no other landmarks existed, these would be
sufficient to indicate the road.
The evening journey was continued till a late hour, and the boys
40 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
were surprised to find that the desert air, so scorching during the day,
was of a chilliness suggesting frost at night. Doctor Bronson recalled
to them their experience in India, where there was often a sensible
change of temperature in going from sunshine into shadow, and said
it was a noticeable feature of the desert that it did not retain at night
any appreciable portion of the heat poured upon it during the day. It
is fortunate for man that such is the case," he added, "as the coolness
of the night enables us to recuperate from the exhaustion of the swelter-
ing temperature of daytime."
i---- .- .. __ _
SUNRISE ON THE SEA OF SAND.
The wells or springs to which allusion has been made are about half
way from Korosko to Aboo Hamed. They are shallow pools of exceed-
ingly bitter water, quite unfit for men to drink, but not injurious to
camels. Doctor Bronson tasted the water, and said the bitterness was
caused by sulphate of magnesia, commonly known as Epsom salts. Frank
and Fred were curious to try it, but their curiosity was easily satisfied.
A few drops on the tongue made a burning sensation, which did not
show a disposition to go away immediately.
THE WELLS IN THE DESERT. 41
The tents were pitched a short distance from the wells and close to
an encampment of Arabs, who were spending two or three days there
to refresh their camels. Around some of the pools there was a little
vegetation, but not enough to furnish a good meal for a hungry animal;
there were a few stunted palms in the valley, and the lines on the sand
showed that at some former time a river flowed there. The camels
drank freely of the water, and evidently understood that they must lay
in a supply for the rest of the journey to the Nile.
SCENE AT THE WELLS.
They left the wells early in the morning, and after a few hours
found themselves on a broad, sandy plain, where the thermometer at two
o'clock in the afternoon stood at 100. It was the greatest heat they
had found since leaving the Nile. Frank kept the record of the tem-
perature, and reported to the Doctor each evening the result of his
observations. In the morning it was chilly; the Arabs shivered in all
their wrappings, and our friends sought shelter in their overcoats for
the early part of the ride, but invariably laid them aside when the sun
was a couple of hours above the horizon. By noon they were in their
lightest garments, and so continued till evening, when the air grew cool
There was a daily variation of not far from forty degrees between
the highest and lowest readings of the thermometer. The lowest record
was 50, and the highest 1000; but these did not occur on the same day.
The boys were not slow to understand why the Doctor had made such
a liberal provision of blankets, and were greatly obliged to him for his
As they approached the Nile, Frank and Fred vied with each other
42 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
to get the first glimpse of the great river. The mirage was all around
them, and the boys were several times deceived by it, until Abdul came
to their assistance.
"I will give you a rule," said he, "by which you can always tell a
real lake or river from an imaginary one. In a mirage the imaginary
lake is of the same color as the sky above it, while the Nile is of a
deeper blue. You will rarely, if ever, find the sky and water of the
same hue when the sun is shining, and this is the only time when the
mirage appears. With this simple rule in mind, you are not likely to
While they were talking Fred made good use of his eyes, and sud-
denly pointed ahead to a little cleft in the line of rocky hills. There
was a strip of blue which did not resemble the sky in color, and he felt
certain it was the Nile.
"You are right," said Abdul, "and that is the Nile. We will make
our camp to-night on its banks."
---~-T -L __ _--- ~ __- _- --z
--- '- ^ .^''' ~
MOUNTAIN PASS IN THE DESERT.
Soon a fringe of palm-trees came into sight; the blue streak increased
to a broad expanse of water, and the line of palms into a grove. Then
they came among fields of beans and other green things, and before
sunset they stood on the bank of the river, and drank freely of the
water, which Ali brought them in a large bowl. It was a great improve-
CROCODILES AND THEIR WAYS. 43
mient upon the warm and strongly flavored water which had been their
only resource for eight long days, and they both declared it the sweetest
draught they had ever taken.
"You can understand now, better than ever before," said the Doc-
tor, "why the Arabs seem to worship the Nile, and why the ancient
Egyptians regarded it as a divinity. Without it all this part of Africa
would be like the desert we have just passed, and existence here would
And I understand, too," responded Fred, why the Arab conception
of Paradise abounds in rivers of never-failing water. Mohammed wrote
from his own experience, as he lived among the deserts of Arabia."
An Arab merchant, with whom Abdul was acquainted, came to offer
the shelter of his house to the strangers; but they preferred their tents,
and told the dragoman to thank him for his offer and decline it. Frank
proposed a swim in the river, which was seconded by Fred. Abdul sug-
gested the possibility of an interview with a crocodile, and the swim
was indefinitely postponed. Crocodiles are numerous in this part of the
river, and in fact all the way from the second Cataract to the equatorial
lakes. They are by no means timid, and the stranger should think twice
before venturing into the river.
Abdul told the boys that it was not unusual for crocodiles to be
counted by dozens on the sand-banks in the upper Nile; on one occasion
he saw more than fifty together, and they did not show a disposition to
slide into the water till he was within twenty yards of them. Some-
times, when boats were overturned in the river, the unfortunate victims
of the upset were eaten by the hideous reptiles; and they occasionally
came close to the bank and seized women or girls who were filling
water-jars from the stream.
Of course the youths were seized with a desire to shoot a crocodile,
and eagerly asked the Doctor if there would be an opportunity for a
hunting expedition. Doctor Bronson said they would remain a day at
Aboo IIamed, and he had no objection to their trying their skill if the
game could be found.
Abdul went in search of his merchant friend, and the business was
soon arranged. There was a sand-bank a little way up the river, where
the crocodiles came out to sun themselves, and he thought they could
get a shot or two by going there on the following morning.
Their sleep that night was disturbed by dreams of monster saurians.
Frank waked with a start, under the impression that he was being swal-
lowed feet foremost by a crocodile; he found, on coming to his senses,
44 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
that the blankets had rolled away from his feet and allowed the cold air
to fall on them, and it was the change of temperature that had given
him the impression of being devoured. Fred dreamed of falling into
the water from a boat, and finding himself where the river was full of
hungry crocodiles; the reality was that he had rolled from his couch, and
upset a water-jar which Ali had placed ready for his use in the morning.
After breakfast they left for the crocodile hunt, the party consist-
ing of Frank and Fred, with Ali, the latter going as interpreter. One
of the camel-drivers went along, and there were at least a dozen Arabs
who followed, in the hope of earning or begging something from the
When they reached the sand-bank a single crocodile was seen by
one of the Arabs, who pointed it out to the youths. A friendly dis-
pute followed, to determine who should have the first shot, which would
probably be the only one. The choice fell upon Frank, and, as soon as
it was determined, he motioned the others to remain quiet while he
crept slowly in the direction of the prize.
Armed with his rifle, he went slowly along the sand till within
about sixty yards of the crocodile.; at this moment the creature raised
his head and looked around, but as Frank lay perfectly still the prox-
irnity of danger was not discovered. The reptile settled to sleep again,
and when he had been lying quiet a couple of minutes Frank advanced
The eye and the shoulder are the only vulnerable points of the
crocodile. As the eye was closed its position was not easy to make out,
and so Frank determined on shooting at the shoulder. He took delib-
erate aim and fired.
The crocodile gave one convulsive motion and stretched himself on
the sand. Evidently Frank's shot had been well aimed.
The youth was about to run forward to examine his game, but was
restrained by a shout from Ali, telling him to wait for the Arabs. They
came up at the top of their speed.
"They say you must be careful," said Ali, "as the crocodile may not
be dead. He will lie quite still awhile, and when you don't expect it
he thrashes his tail round and opens his jaws."
Thus cautioned, Frank went more slowly, accompanied by the rest
of the party. To make the thing certain, Fred put a bullet through
the crocodile's eye, and Frank added another from the opposite side.
At each of these shots there was a slight movement of the creature's
muscles, but nothing that appeared dangerous.
UH M 00_ DI --
DRAGGING A CROCODILE TO LAND.
46 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
The boys told the Arabs they might do what they pleased with the
carcass. It was of very little consequence, as the flesh is not fit to eat,
but the skin and teeth can occasionally be sold to a traveller who desires
to take home a trophy, and has not been fortunate in bagging any game
of his own. While one of them went for a rope the rest sat down and
waited; the boys followed their example, hoping another crocodile
would show himself, and give Fred a chance to try his skill; but noth-
When the man returned with the rope the party set at work to
drag their prize to the solid ground. They were very cautious in ap-
proaching him, but finally managed to get the rope around his neck.
As soon as they commenced pulling, the legs and tail began to move,
the tail swinging from side to side in a way that would have been
dangerous to any one within its reach.
The men hauled away vigorously, and, despite the opposition of the
crocodile, they soon removed him from the narrow strip of sand and
had him safe on the main bank. A blow from a hatchet finished the
work of the boys, and the crocodile lay dead on the ground. By means
of the rope his length was ascertained, and then the youths returned to
They told the story of their adventure to the Doctor, who measured
the rope, and found that the crocodile was only a few inches short of
fifteen feet long.
"It's a very good one," said Abdul, "but I've seen 'em eighteen or
twenty feet long. The great fellows are no more dangerous than the
smaller ones, as a crocodile ten feet long can drag a man under water
and hold him there till he is drowned."
Abdul said that one day, while the men of Baker Pacha's party
were working among some masses of reeds that the river had piled
up, they felt something moving under their feet. They got away from
the spot as soon as possible, and a moment afterward the head of a
crocodile was thrust up from below. His body was tangled in the reeds,
and before he could get free the men attacked him. He was unable
to use his tail, and so was at their mercy; "and you may be sure," he
continued, "nobody has any mercy for a crocodile. Besides, the men
were negroes from the Soudan country, and, unlike the Arabs, they had
no scruple in eating the flesh. They made short work of him, and had
a good supper that night, in addition to the sport of killing their natural
Abdul said that the number of natives killed by crocodiles every year
HABITS OF THE SAURIAN. 47
r-1 MI1-8 _.___-
SECURING A SUPPER.
along the upper part of the Nile must be quite large. Every few days a
death from this cause occurs in nearly every town or village. The care-
less habits of the people are greatly in the crocodile's favor, and he has no
scruples about taking them as near his heart as the position of his stom-
ach will permit. When a large crocodile is killed and dissected the proof
of his misdeeds is generally discovered, in the shape of anklets and other
silver ornaments worn by his unfortunate victims, and which remain of
The crocodile does not eat his game on the spot where he captures it;
his habit is to drag it to a secluded place and take his time in devouring
it. In this respect he differs from his marine cousin, the shark, who bolts
his prey at once, and then, like Oliver Twist, looks around for more.
48 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
BERBER AND SHENDY.-HUNTING THE HIPPOPOTAMUS.-TERRIBLE REVENGE
OF AN ETHIOPIAN KING.
THE adventure with the crocodile had consumed the entire forenoon,
and the boys were ready for a well-earned rest of a couple of hours.
In the afternoon they crossed the Nile to the island of Mokrat, which
lies opposite Aboo Hamed, and is about twenty miles long. The fields of
cotton, beans, dourah, and other Egyptian products were in marked con-
trast to the desert, and the dark-green foliage of the palm and sycamore
trees were a grateful sight to the eyes of the young travellers after their
eight days' travel where no verdure could be seen. Frank said the only
green things in the desert were themselves, but the Doctor told him the
joke was old enough to be allowed to rest. "Bayard Taylor made it
in 1851," he remarked, and nearly every traveller since his time has
While they were crossing the stream on their way to the island a
crocodile showed his head close to them, but immediately disappeared
from sight. Fred thought he must have heard of their slaughter of one
of his kindred, and therefore showed prudence in going away. He was
in no danger, as they had left their rifles at Aboo Hamed, and were quite
without the appliances for capturing a fresh prize.
Abdul said they might possibly see a hippopotamus, and, in the hope
of finding one, lie took them to a part of the island where these amphib-
ious beasts are said to come ashore. There were several broad tracks in
the sand, and one of the natives showed where his field had been seri-
ously injured by these disagreeable visitors.
The visit to the spot naturally led to stories of the chase of these
animals. Doctor Bronson had never hunted the hippopotamus, but he
informed the boys concerning the character of the beast and his place
in natural history. He is a curious product of nature," said the Doctor,
"and his name comes from two Greek words meaning river-horse.' The
name describes him very fairly, though not accurately. He makes his
home in the river, but can hardly be ranked with the horse. His head
THE HIPPOPOTAMUS. 49
reminds one of the hog, while the body resembles, to some extent, that
of the ox. His motions are generally sluggish, but he possesses great
strength, which lie is not slow to use.
He lives upon vegetable food, and his feet are provided with toes
instead of hoofs. In the daytime he remains concealed in the water, or
among the reeds, and his depredations in search of food are committed at
night. He is the behemoth' of the Bible, and his common name among
the people where he abounds is 'sea-cow.'"
THE HOME OF BEHEMOTH.
Hle is more valuable than the crocodile," continued the Doctor,
"and likewise he is more dangerous to pursue. The crocodile is harm-
less, unless you come within reach of his tail or jaws, and when attacked,
his whole effort is to get away. The hippopotamus will show fight when
attacked, particularly if it happens to be a mother with young."
"I'll tell you about a fight with one," said Abdul, "as soon as the
Doctor has finished with his description of the animal."
The flesh of the sea-cow resembles pork," Doctor Bronson continued.
"The skin is tough and thick, and is made into those terrible whips which
are called courbashes by the Arabs, and are used all over Africa. It can
also be used for the soles of sandals and boots, and for helmets, shields,
and other defensive things. It is not easy to send a bullet through it,
CLIIII -r; J4
50 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
AN AFRICAN RIVER SCENE.
and an old hippopotamus is nearly as impenetrable as the side of a loco-
motive engine. The teeth are valuable, as they are an excellent ivory,
and for some purposes surpass the tusk of the elephant. So much for
the value of the hippopotamus; and now for the story of Abduls fight
Twenty years ago," said the dragoman, "there were more of these
animals here than now, and there were also more crocodiles. In the
neighborhood of Khartoum the river was full of them, and if you went
out just at daybreak, in certain localities, you might see dozens of them
in a single morning. The crocodile and the hippopotamus do not get
along well together, and sometimes they have savage fights; but more
frequently they mind their own business, and you may see them swim-
ming peaceably side by side. Where both are so well able to take care
of themselves they are not very likely to quarrel.
The river full of these animals and the air full of birds made a very
lively picture. Anybody who was fond of hunting could get all the sport
"One morning I went out with an English gentleman whom I had
accompanied from Cairo. He was an excellent shot, and on his way up
HUNTING THE RIVER-HORSE. 51
the river had killed no less than seven crocodiles, which he secured, in
addition to at least a dozen that had escaped into the water after being
mortally wounded. He was anxious to kill a hippopotamus, and I prom-
ised to give him the opportunity.
We went quietly along till we reached one of their haunts, where we
brought the boat to land. Creeping through the reeds, I caught sight of
a large sea-cow eating her breakfast and quite unconscious of danger. I
beckoned to the gentleman, who came forward cautiously to get a good
position for firing.
He worked around till he thought he had the proper aim and then
fired. His shot was not fatal, and she turned with a roar that was some-
thing like the squeal of a hog, though much deeper and louder.
"At the same moment I saw her calf, which had been lying on the
ground, and then I knew she would face and fight us. If she had been
without young, her first move would have been to rush for shelter in the
"I stumbled and fell, but was up again in an instant. Luckily for me
the hippopotamus is clumsy on land though quite agile in the water, and
I was getting nicely out of the way when my foot caught in a tangle of
reeds and I was down again.
N .-~~ :. ".- .c.>._z__-
.....-. _- _.. --- Z~--_
__ -- .. '-..
A NARROW ESCAPE.
This time the animal reached me, and opened its great jaws as if to
swallow me at one gulp. I thought I was lost, but at that moment an-
other bullet from the gentleman's rifle called her attention the other way.
52 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
Another bullet followed, and then the beast turned toward the
water; but she had been struck in a vital part, and fell before getting
to the river. The calf did not run away, but stayed
by its mother. It was too large for us to capture
alive, and so we killed it, or rather the Englishman
did. We had a good deal of trouble getting the
boatmen to help us carry the prizes to the bank, as
they were all afraid of being attacked if they vent-
ured away from the water.
At another time two Englishmen went out in
a boat with a negro who was to ferry them over
the river. While they were crossing they wounded
a calf. The little fellow bellowed at the top of his
voice and his mother made a rush at the boat,
dragging the stern under water and giving them
a narrow escape from drowning; but in attacking
the boat she raised herself half out of water, so that
they had good aim at her at very close range. A
couple of bullets made her loosen her hold on the
boat and drop again into the river.
"In the interior of Africa," Abdul continued,
"the natives hunt the hippopotamus in two or three
Sways. They set pitfalls for him so that a heavy
spear falls on his back when he is travelling along
a path in search of food. When he has found a
good feeding-ground in somebody's field, and has
spent the night there, he is liable to come again the
next night, and so the natives feel pretty certain of
securing him when they set a trap. But it has to
be arranged very skilfully, as he is a cautious brute,
I and very apt to discover the disturbance of the
bushes or trees.
"Another mode of hunting them is with the
spear, and for this purpose it is made with a very
strong barb that will hold in the skin, and has a
handle eight or ten feet long. Three or four of
the natives get on a raft of reeds and float slowly
along in perfect silence till they reach the spot where the hippopotamus
is supposed to lie.
The animal when undisturbed is generally found with his nose just
NATIVE MODE OF HUNTING. 53
above the water, while his body is concealed beneath it and resting on
the bottom of the river. The raft drifts along till it touches the nose of
the sleeper; he rises up and brings his back above the surface, so that
his assailants have good aim at it.
"Down come the heavy spears into his thick hide; the barbs get good
hold under the skin, and then the natives paddle the raft to land, and
fasten the ropes of the harpoons to the nearest trees or to a strong stake
hastily driven into the ground.
_-- --- -- L -- 7_2
SPEARING THE RIVER-HORSE.
The animal is their prize, as he cannot tear out the harpoons or break
the ropes, and his enemies are out of his reach. They sit down and wait
for him to exhaust his strength by struggling, and then he can be finished
with spears and knives, as they are unprovided with fire-arms. I have
seen several of these animals captured in this way; the only danger is
that he may upset them before they have taken the ropes to land and
made them fast."
By the time Abdul's story was ended the boat was back at the landing-
place in front of Aboo Hamed, and in a few minutes the boys were once
more in their tents. Their excursion had given them a keen relish for
supper, which consisted of a stew of mutton from a sheep which Abdul
had bought before they started for Mokrat. Whenever it was possible to
obtain food by purchase they did so, and preserved their canned pro-
54 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
visions against such times as they should need them in the heart of
They had expected to go by river from Aboo Hamed to Berber, but
unfortunately there was no boat to be hired, and therefore a new bargain
was made with the camel-drivers to continue the journey by land. The
boys had become accustomed to the Arab mode of travel, and did not
particularly regret the absence of a boat. The dragoman told the Doctor
that they would get along faster and cheaper with the camels than with
a boat, as there was a cataract to be passed about half way on the route,
where they would be subject to delay and the inevitable demand of the
natives for backsheesh. The day's halt had refreshed the camels and
their riders, and early the second morning the procession wound along
the road as gayly as it had departed from Korosko.
Much of the way the route was along the bank of the Nile, sometimes
in the desert sands, and sometimes among rich fields where the natives
were at work attending to their crops, or lying idle in the warm sun.
Occasionally a bend of the stream caused the caravan to take a short cut
of several hours among rocky ridges or over stretches of yellow sand that
reflected a painful glare to unprotected eyes. The camp was made each
night on the bank of the Nile, and generally in the neighborhood of a
village. The inhabitants were miserably poor, and it was difficult to buy
anything more than a few vegetables and eggs, and possibly a lean and
unattractive chicken. The natives are heavily oppressed with taxation,
and frequently their goods are taken from them by the Egyptian officials,
and they receive no payment in return. Several times they fled as our
friends approached, and it was not an easy matter to assure them they
would not be harmed.
Several times the party had glimpses of gazelles that abound in this
region, but have been hunted so much that they are very shy. Frank
and Fred were eager for a gazelle hunt, but it was not deemed advisable
to halt the caravan sufficiently long to accommodate them. Their chances
of success were very slight, from the wildness of the game and their inex-
perience, and a very little argument induced them to postpone the chase
till they were more certain of bringing something home that would make
a good dinner. Abdul told them there were formerly wild asses in the
Wady El-Homar; they subsisted on the hard, thorny grass that grows
there, but were very fleet and shy, so that they were rarely caught ex-
cept by stratagem. The wady, or valley, is a pass among the hills which
come down to the river in long ridges, and are destitute of water except
in the season of rains.
ARRIVAL AT BERBER. 55
As they approached Berber the sterility of the scene diminished,
though the travellers were not out of the desert until near the city. On
the other side of the river the fields stretched away for a long distance,
and Frank remarked that the picture reminded him of the delta of the
Nile in the neighborhood of Cairo. They met or passed crowds of peo-
ple going between Berber and the surrounding villages, many on foot,
and others mounted on camels and donkeys, the latter being the most
numerous. As they passed the mud walls and entered the city, the at-
tention of our youthful friends was centred on the people rather than
on the architecture of the place. The
houses were not unlike those of the
towns of Lower Egypt, but the inhabi-
tants were quite different in appearance,
and both Frank and Fred remarked that
they were in a new country.
The people were of a darker color
than those they had seen farther down
the river. Three-fourths of them were
Nubians and Ethiopians of various tribes
and kinds, and the remainder included
Arabs from the desert, soldiers from
Cairo and Alexandria, a few Copts and
native Egyptians, and a small number of
individuals whom it was very difficult to
classify. Berber is the centre of a con- A BERBER ARAB.
siderable trade with the Lower Nile and
the coast of the Red Sea on one hand, and the Upper Nile and Central
Africa on the other; consequently, its streets are the meeting-place of
many tribes that roam over a large extent of country.
Abdul told the boys that Berber had a population of about twenty
thousand, and was formerly the capital of the Ethiopian kingdom of the
same name. It is an important military point, and the government gen-
erally keeps a garrison of not less than a thousand soldiers in the fort
which commands the town. These troops are intended less for the pro-
tection of the place than as a terror to the surrounding tribes, who some-
times show signs of insubordination, and are kept in order by the mili-
Frank thought the fort was.not of much consequence, as its walls were
of mud and brick, and could be battered down in a short time by a small
army with artillery. Doctor Bronson said there was little probability of
56 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
an army coming against it, as it was in the hands of the only military
power in all that part of Africa. The fort was intended as a defence
against the natives, and the few cannon they possessed were of antiquated
pattern, and no match for the modern weapons of the Egyptian army.
Iw I A
SHEEP OF BERBER.
Outside the walls were several encampments of caravans from Suakim,
on the Red Sea, and from the country to the southward. The bank of
the Nile was lined with boats, some loading or unloading their cargoes,
and others lying idle and waiting for patrons or crews. Negotiations
were opened with the owner of one of the largest boats for the trans-
portation of Doctor Bronson's party to Khartoum. Before any conclu-
sion was reached the business was brought to an end by the arrival of
a steamboat from up the river, and the announcement that she would
return a couple of days later.
For once we have found the Oriental policy of delay in our favor,"
the Doctor remarked, when telling the boys of the arrival of the steamer.
"If the owner of that boat had been an Englishman or an American he
would have closed the transaction in an hour or so, and we should have
been obliged to go with him, or pay for breaking the contract. But he
sat down and smoked his pipe, on the first interview and the second,
without saying a word about business, and by the time he was ready for
a third consultation I knew all about the steamboat, and had no farther
need of his services."
The steamer belonged to the Egyptian government, and before the
Doctor's party could be allowed to travel by it the permission of the
THE NILE ABOVE BERKER. 57
Governor of Berber was necessary. Fortunately, they were provided
with letters from the high authorities at Cairo, and the permission was
The baggage had been stored in the warehouse of a French merchant,
to protect it from weather and thieves. As soon as the arrangements
were completed for passage up the river the boxes and bales were taken
to the steamboat and snugly stowed in the hold. As was naturally ex-
pected in this land of delays, the boat did not leave until a day after
the appointed time, and the Doctor considered himself fortunate to get
away so soon.
Aided by the wind from the north she breasted the current of the
Nile, and very soon the mud walls of Berber were left behind. The
banks of the river showed signs of greater fertility than our friends had
seen on their ride from Aboo Hamed; groves of palm-trees were nu-
merous, and there were many fields of grain, cotton, and other growing
things. Abdul said there had been great suffering in this region at
different times, owing to bad government. At one time the Governor-
general of the Soudan had caused the natives to be plundered, in order
that he might secure a larger taxation than usual. Many villages were
abandoned, the people fleeing to the interior to escape persecution, and
neglecting agriculture altogether. When he passed up the river with
Baker Pacha's expedition the country was almost destitute of inhabitants,
and for miles and miles where formerly were prosperous villages not a
native could be seen.
The land here, like that lower down the Nile, is kept fertile by irriga-
tion. The sakkiehs, or water-wheels, are turned by oxen, and their creak-
ing is the reverse of musical. In some places they seem to form a con-
tinuous line along the banks, and in a distance of less than a mile Frank
counted thirty-seven sakkiehs at work, besides nearly as many more lying
idle. This part of the Nile might be made one of the most productive
parts of Egypt, and it is to be hoped that a better government will con-
trol it tlan has been its ill-fortune since the days of Mohammed Ali to
the present time.
Abdul called the boys to look at the Atbara River.
It is noticeable," said the Doctor, as the first tributary of the Nile
above its entrance into the Mediterranean. For fifteen hundred miles
this great river does not receive so much as the tiniest brook, a condition
of things without parallel with any other river of the world."
The Atbara rises in Abyssinia," said Abdul, near the base of two
lofty mountains called Abba-Jaret and Amba-Hai. They are not far
VIEW IN THE ATBARA VALLEY.
_ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _C
THE KING OF SHENDY-ISMAIL PACHA. 59
from the coast of the Red Sea, and one of the head streams of the Atbara
is said to start as though intending to reach the coast, when it suddenly
turns and flows toward the Nile. It is called Atbara only in the lower
part of its course; higher up it is known as the Tacazze, and it runs
through a country that would be very productive if it contained people
to cultivate it."
A short distance above the mouth of the Atbara they passed Darner,
a town situated on the point of land between the Nile and its tributary
stream. Abdul said it was not unlike Berber, but smaller, and they were
not losing much in passing it without stopping.
They stopped a couple of hours at Shendy, to take in fuel for the
steamboat, and the delay was utilized by our friends to obtain a glimpse
of the town. As they walked through the streets, formed by rows of
mud houses, with here and there a building of more pretentious char-
acter, the Doctor told his young companions of a terrible incident in its
"Shendy was formerly tlhe capital of the Soudan country," said the
Doctor, and had an important trade with Darfoor and other countries
of Central Africa. After the conquest of Egypt Mohammed Ali sent his
son, Ismail Pacha, to demand the submission of Mek Nemr, the King of
Ethiopia, who ruled at Shendy, and had received the nickname of 'The
Leopard,' on account of his ferocity.
Ismail Pacha made his camp outside the walls of Shendy, and sent
for the king to come to see him. He demanded hay for his horses and
camels and food for his troops. The king said it was impossible to meet
the demand, as his people were poor and the season had been very bad.
The Egyptian became angry and struck the king over the head with
the stem of his chibouk. The king bowed his head, as if frightened,
and said his people should bring all that was asked for, and more besides.
All night long the king's people were busy bringing hay for the
horses and camels and piling it around the camp. The largest heaps
were in front of the tents of the Pacha and his officers, and they re-
marked that the Ethiopian king had evidently been thoroughly fright-
ened into submission, and would hereafter be obedient to his rulers.
At daybreak there was a change of the scene.
"Suddenly the whole circle of forage was in a blaze. Ismail Pacha
and his officers and soldiers attempted to save themselves by flight. As
they ran from the flames that threatened them they were met by the
lances of hundreds of Ethiopian warriors, who gave them the alternative
of being speared or roasted.
60 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
"Not one of all the party escaped. When Mohammed All heard of
the death of his son he sent an army to destroy Shendy, and not leave
one stone standing on another. The town was razed to the ground, but
'The Leopard' was not seized; he fled into the interior, and never fell
into the hands of the Egyptians. This happened in 1822. A new town
was started on the site of the old one, but it has never gained its former
greatness. The capital of the country was moved to Khartoum, and that
place has become the centre of trade on this part of the Nile."
The spot where Ismail Pacha met his death at the hands of the
ferocious King of Ethiopia was pointed out by Abdul. The boys looked
in vain for any traces of the camp, but the dragoman assured them there
could be little doubt of the locality, and none as to the correctness of the
,AN *I- K IN
AN ETHIOPIAN KING.
FROM SHENDY TO KHARTOUM. 61
LIFE IN KHARTOUM.-DEPARTURE FOR GONDOKORO.
?RNOM Shendy to Khartoum there was little change of landscape.
SThe country increased in fertility, and Abdul informed the trav-
ellers that they were every hour getting farther into the region of
periodical rains. The grasses grew without irrigation, and only the
strip of land near the river, where beans and other garden products
were raised, required artificial watering. The people keep large flocks
of sheep and goats, and our friends had practical knowledge of this
fact in the ease with which they could purchase mutton at the landing-
places. Mountains appeared in the distance, and were a great relief to
the eye after the flat and wearisome plains.
Frank and Fred were watching for the junction of the Blue and
White Nile. Before coming in sight of the point where the rivers unite
ARRIVAL AT KHARTOUM.
.- --- -- _ -
ARRIVAL AT KHARTOUN.
62 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
they became aware of its proximity by the appearance of the water.
The White Nile was of a grayish color, while the other stream was
several degrees darker in hue. Doctor Bronson said he was reminded
of the confluence of the Ohio with the Mississippi, or of the latter
river with the Missouri. There is an island just below the point of
land where Khartoum is built, and boats may pass from one river to
the other above this island. There is usually very little current through
the channel, so that the actual junction is considerably farther down.
The man at the helm directed the steamer up the Blue Nile, and
turned her prow toward a stone embankment in front of several large
buildings. There were two or three groups of these buildings, and as
the boat steamed onward Abdul described them to the strangers. "On
the left," said he, "is the Governor's palace, and close by it are the
residences of the principal officials; to the right are other government
buildings, and then farther away are the habitations of the foreign con-
suls and other persons of distinction. The front of Khartoum is more
attractive than the interior, and if you want to retain the best impression
of the place you would do well not to go on shore at all."
This did not suit the desires of our young friends, and they declined
asking the captain of the boat to pass Khartoum without stopping.
Probably he would have laughed at the request, or gravely referred it
to the commanding officer on shore.
The steamer stopped at the foot of the stone embankment, and as
soon as the plank was out tlhe three travellers mounted the steps to the
top of the low bluff. Abdul and Ali remained to look after the bag-
gage and arrange for its storage, while Doctor Bronson went to call
upon Mr. Jenquel, a German merchant, to whom he had letters of
introduction. Mr. Jenquel was out at the time; but his partner re-
ceived the strangers kindly, and speedily arranged for their being com-
fortably lodged during their stay. There is no hotel at Khartoum, and
travellers are obliged to hire lodgings or accept the hospitality of the
few Europeans living in the place.
They took a stroll through Khartoum in company with their new-
found friend, and saw many things to attract their attention. The
street near the river was well shaded with palm and other trees, and
they passed several gardens of citron and orange trees, whose fruit
seemed to invite immediate plucking and devouring. They found the
older part of tle town made up of narrow and crooked streets, and
had several narrow escapes from being knocked down by camels that
moved along the way as if it belonged to no one but themselves.
ELEPHANTS AT HOME-SHAKING A FRUIT-TREE.
64- THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
After dodging several times to avoid the ponderous beasts Frank asked
where they came from, and what they were carrying.
"They are mostly from the Atmoor, or desert of Korosko," was the
reply, and their burdens consist of European goods intended for the
These goods are about the same as we are carrying for paying our
way in Africa," said the Doctor. Cotton cloths, beads, knives, small
tools, and a lot of toys and gewgaws constitute the staple of African
supplies. The merchants in Khartoum fit out the wandering traders,
and send them into the interior for ivory, gum, ostrich feathers, and
the other products of the country that will bear a high rate of trans-
portation. The chief article is ivory, and the trade of Khartoum some-
times amounts to a million dollars a year in ivory alone. Latterly it is
said to have declined, owing to the diminished number of elephants
and the difficulty of capturing them.
"From present indications," the Doctor continued, "the elephant
seems destined to follow the fate of the buffalo in America and disap-
pear before many years. Formerly he was pursued only by the natives,
who were unprovided with fire-arms and relied upon their spears and
arrows, and also on pitfalls and other rude contrivances. His sagacity
enables him to elude the latter, except in rare instances, and his great
strength was in favor of his safety from primitive weapons. But since
the white man has entered the field, and especially since the invention
of rifles that kill at long distances, and carry explosive bullets, the days
of the elephant are numbered. Strength and sagacity are of little avail
against modern weapons and their murderous accessories, and if the
elephant survives the American bison, it is only because the African
continent has been settled more slowly than our own.
If you look on the map you will see that Khartoum is at the end
of the caravan route from Kordofan and Darfoor; consequently some
of the camels you have been dodging may have come from those coun-
tries as well as from the desert of Korosko. Then there is the route
by the river, both south and north, and also along the Blue Nile. It is
the intention of the Egyptian government to bring the Soudan rail-
way to Khartoum, and it is not impossible that a decade or so hence
we may travel in a Pullman car from Cairo to the spot where we are
Since writing the above the author has received a letter from the American Con-
sul-general at Cairo, in which it is stated that in consequence of the insurrection in
SLAVES DRIVEN TO MARKET. 65
"Just think of it!" exclaimed Fred; "riding by railway to Cen-
tral Africa, only fifteen degrees north of the equator, and in the land
of elephants and crocodiles!"
His meditations were brought suddenly to an end by an encounter
with another string of camels, followed by several negroes, who were
closely watched by a swarthy Arab, armed with a large whip.
"Those men are slaves," whispered their guide; though the Arab
in charge of them would declare he knew nothing about them if you
should ask him. They come from the southern country, and are of the
tribe of Dinka negroes. The Dinkas are greatly liked as slaves, and
bring a higher price than those from other tribes.
-- ,.-- --
PROFILES OF DINKA NEGROES.
You see they are not tied together, or in any way restrained; but
if they should try to run away they would get some sharp blows of the
whip, and the Arabs that are loitering about would hinder their escape.
The police would not interfere to assist either party. The slave has few
friends, while all the Arabs are interested in keeping up the commerce,
and are therefore the natural enemies of the captive.
the Soudan provinces the English government has been called upon to act with Egypt
in restoring the authority of the latter country. Foreseeing the great difficulties in car-
rying troops and stores across the Desert to Khartoum, England is seriously considering
the question of a railway between Suakim, on the Red Sea, and Berber, on the Nile. In
addition to its political importance, the line would have great commercial advantages
as it would afford an outlet for the rich region between Khartoum and the equatorial
66 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
"When the slave caravans are on the road the men and women are
tied together, and frequently have wooden yokes around their necks, to
keep them from running away. Carrying these heavy burdens, they
move with difficulty, and their strength is so much exhausted that they
are completely under the control of their captors."
A couple of hours among the narrow streets of the old part of
Khartoum, where their nostrils were constantly assailed by vile smells
from the wretched drains, were quite enough for our friends, and they
returned to the river bank. Their guide told them that the city was
notoriously unhealthy, owing to its bad drainage. It had been fatal to
a great many Europeans, and of late years the government had endeav-
ored to remedy the evil, but had not succeeded altogether. The popu-
lation is a mixed lot of Arabs, Turks, Jews, Berbers, negroes, and Eu-
ropeans. The latter are principally Greeks and Italians, engaged in sell-
ing European products t tthe native merchants, and some of them keep
small shops for vending spirits and canned edibles.
_- -_7 -. '- .
BRINGING A SLAVE TO MARKET.
Altogether, Khartoum has a population of about thirty thousand, and
is said to be steadily increasing with the growth of trade in Central
Africa. Before the destruction of Shendy it was a place of little im-
portance; but when the capital of the Soudan was transferred to Khar-
toum, in 1822, it rose rapidly in importance, and has been greatly helped
by its geographical position.
A FOREIGN RESIDENCE IN KHARTOUM. 67
Returning to the establishment of Mr. Jenquel, they found that
gentleman, who received them cordially, and said they must dine at his
house, which was a short distance from his place of business. Dinner
would be ready in an hour, and meanwhile he would show them how
he lived in Khartoum.
They went to the house at once, and their host said they might take
his dwelling for a fair specimen of the best class of houses in Khartoum.
It stood in a yard or garden about five hundred feet square, and sur-
rounded by a mud wall eight or nine feet high, and nearly half as thick.
The house was nearly two hundred feet square, with a court-yard in the
centre; the part of the building nearest the entrance was two stories
high, but the remainder was only one story. Stairways are objectionable
in hot countries, as the exertion of climbing is too much for human
endurance, and elevators have not yet penetrated into Africa. The
upper story was occupied by Mr. Jenquel and his amiable wife, while
the ground-floor contained the dining-room and two or three apartments
for visitors, together with the kitchen and the quarters of the servants.
All the rooms were large and airy, and were fitted partly in European
and partly in Arab style. There was a wide balcony surrounding the
upper story, and it formed an agreeable lounging-place in the coolest
hours of the day.
Mrs. Jenquel proved to be a most charming lady, who spoke Ger-
man and English with equal fluency. She had been only a short time
in Khartoum, and was evidently not over-charmed with the place. She
said there were only two European ladies besides herself in the city.
There were no theatres, balls, parties, or other amusements, and alto-
gether there was a great deal of monotony in the life she led. It was
a relief to her when strangers came to visit them, and she welcomed with
delight the presence of Doctor Bronson and the intelligent youths who
Dinner was served in European style, the principal dish being roast
mutton, preceded by soup and fish-the latter a species of salmon from
the Blue Nile-and followed by a liberal supply of fruits. Among the
latter were delicious oranges from the garden of the host, together with
tamarinds, dates, custard-apples, and grapes. Our friends had made the
acquaintance of the custard-apple in India, and found the product of
Khartoum in no way inferior to that of Asia.
Abdul came to announce that their lodgings were ready, and the
baggage had been carefully landed and stored as previously arranged.
When the proper time arrived they said good night to their kind
68 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
entertainers, and followed the dragoman to the house that had been
secured for them.
It was not unlike the residence of Mr. Jenquel, though considerably
smaller, and belonged to a merchant, who had gone to Cairo on business,
TREES NEAR THE RIVER.
and was not averse to the occupation of his house by suitable tenants
during his absence. Half a dozen servants remained in charge, so that
Doctor Bronson and the boys found themselves comfortably lodged, and
as much at home as though the place was their own. Abdul was in-
stalled as chief manager, and the promise of a liberal backsheesh made
everything right with the regular servants of the house.
The party remained nearly two weeks at Khartoum, as the prepara-
tions for departure could not be made in a hurry. They were now at
the last outpost of civilization, and their next move would carry them
into the wilderness. The boys readily fell into their new life, and were
very soon as familiar with Khartoum as though they had resided there
a decade or two.
They rose early every morning, and were generally off by sunrise for
a ride in the country around Khartoum. Sometimes they were mounted
on horses which Abdul had hired from a merchant who kept a large
stable close to their residence, and sometimes on camels, that were readily
procured from one of the encampments of the caravans. They found
the horses less fatiguing than the ships of the desert;" but occasionally
they were treated to half-wild steeds, exceedingly hard on the bit, and
AN EXCITING RACE. 69
having a strong tendency to run away with their young riders. One
morning they had a lively run of nearly two hours on the broad plain
south of Khartoum, their horses going at full gallop, and evidently in
the mood for exercise. When they came to pull up their restive beasts
they were nearly thrown from the saddles; and Frank said he could see
no indications that his horse was wearied from the long race. Abdul
said the horses came from Darfoor, and were anxious to get back again.
They were fine animals, and worthy of all the praise bestowed by the
Arabs on their favorite steeds. Fred afterward read the account which
Bayard Taylor gives of his ride over this very plain, when he left his
attendants far behind, though they were mounted on swift dromedaries,
and made every exertion to keep close at his heels. The youth was
decidedly of opinion that the animal he rode in the race with his cousin
was in every respect the equal of the famous red stallion of the Austrian
The middle of the day was generally passed within doors, on account
of the heat; the afternoon was devoted to business and visits, if any were
to be made, and to walks in the town or along the banks of the two rivers
-- --- = = _
VIEW NEAR THE EDGE OF THE TOWN.
which have their place of meeting just below the city. Then there were
letters and journals to be written, maps to be studied, books to be read,
and in various ways the time slipped pleasantly away.
Fortunately for our friends, it happened that a government steamer
70 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
was about to leave Khartoum with despatches for the Governor of the
post at Gondokoro. By means of a telegram from the authorities at
Cairo, and the judicious use of backsheesh in certain quarters, it was ar-
ranged that Doctor Bronson's party could take passage on this steamer.
There was some difficulty about
the baggage, as the captain of
the boat (an Egyptian Arab) said
Sit was impossible to carry it in
addition to what was already or-
dered on government account.
Abdul invited the captain to
dine with him, and the dinner
was the best that could be pre-
Sw pared. It lasted until a late
Sour. Before it was over the
whole matter was arranged, and
the captain said he would carry
S a the baggage of the party, even if
Shlie was obliged to stow it in his
own room. The conversation
-- d a was in Arabic, and we are there-
PREPARING DINNER. fore unable to say how the busi-
ness was settled; but as Abdul
excused himself once during the dinner, and asked the Doctor for five
hundred francs in gold, it is fair to suppose that the negotiations were
not unconnected with backsheesh.
As they steamed away from Khartoum, Abdul said their solitary
boat was quite a contrast to the fleet of Baker Pacha when he started
from the same point for his famous expedition to suppress the slave-
"Baker's expedition, as I before told you," said Abdul, had two
steamers and thirty six sailing boats; and each of the steamers had a
couple of dahabeeahs, or sailing-boats, in tow. It was a grand sight as
we swept past the town, the steamers leading, with their tows, and the
sailing-craft driving ahead with the strong north wind. Salutes were
fired from the batteries in front of the palace, and the decks of our boats
were crowded with men watching till the single minaret of Khartoumn
was lost in the distance.
"The steamers pushed on with their tows, leaving the rest of the
fleet to follow, and made the best of their way to Fashoda, the govern-
NO M =4---------
;T4 lihi -------=-==-== == =
BAERSEXEITO LAVN KATOM
72 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
ment post in the Shillook country, six hundred and eighteen miles by the
river from Khartoum. Fashoda is the first place where we shall stop,
except to take in wood for our engines, unless we meet with an accident
that is not down in our programme."
Frank and Fred watched the example of the soldiers of Baker's expe-
dition and kept their eyes on the minaret of Khartoum till it faded and
was blended with the horizon. Then they turned to look at the country
Their prow was pointed to the south, save where the windings of the
river caused a temporary change of their course. The shores on either
side were low, and generally flat, with here and there clumps of trees and
-- __ _ ---- ----__--- _-- --
------------' --_ -....- -
A VILLAGE SCENE.
little patches of grass. They were still in the region of the desert, but it
was not altogether barren, like the great Atmoor of Korosko. Flocks of
ducks and geese flew in the air or settled in the nooks along the shore;
and now and then the ibis, the sacred bird of the Egyptians, showed his
tall form on the sand-banks. Occasionally a crocodile lay basking in the
sun, or the snort of a startled hippopotamus would be heard close to the
In the night the clear sky was studded with stars, and the youths
lingered long on deck, studying the various constellations. The north
star was nearly sunk to the horizon behind them, while in front the
Southern Cross sparkled in all its glory, and recalled memories of their
voyage from Singapore into the Java Sea. Once more they were ap-
proaching the equator, but with far greater difficulties before them.
SCENES ON THE WHITE NILE. 73
The steamboat held her course during the night, and in the morning
our friends opened their eyes on a change of scene.
The monotonous plain had been left behind, and they were in a re-
gion of hills. More than this, the region was no longer a desert. The
hills were studded with trees, and on the banks of the river there was
a succession of forests and cultivated fields, quite unlike the picture pre-
sented below Khartoum. Droves of cattle and flocks of sheep and goats
were numerous, and the conical huts of the natives had no resemblance to
the flat-roofed dwellings of Lower Egypt.
Occasionally a train of camels was visible, wending its stately way
along, and making a sharp contrast to the droves of diminutive donkeys
peculiar to this part of the Nile. Where the boat went close to the
banks the boys several times discovered monkeys playing among the
branches of the trees, and Frank would have made no objection if they
had halted long enough to capture one of the amusing beasts. A moun-
tain-range appeared in the distance; the vegetation steadily increased in
luxuriance; and the boys became fully aware that they were nearing
THE HEART OF AFRICA.
THE HEART OF AFRICA.
74 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
AMONG THE SHILLOOK NEGROES.-ARRIVAL AT FASHODA.-EXPLORERS OF
O N the second day from Khartoum, Doctor Bronson told the boys they
were in the country of the Shillooks. The natural inquiry that fol-
lowed this announcement was,
Who are the Shillooks ?"
"They are a large tribe of negroes, living along the White Nile,"
replied the Doctor, "and are thought to number nearly, if not quite,
three millions. For more than two hundred miles their villages are
scattered along the river, forming an almost continuous line. They live
partly by hunting and fishing, and formerly they made quite a revenue
by selling slaves to the dealers who came from Khartoum and other parts
"They made war upon neighboring tribes farther back from the
river, and sold their prisoners into slavery; and sometimes they sold their
own people. It was not unusual for a Shillook to sell his own children
when a good price was offered, especially if his family was large and his
affairs were not prosperous."
Frank asked if they could land among the Shillooks and see how they
lived. Doctor Bronson said it was not altogether safe to go among them,
as they have been badly treated by the Turks and Egyptians, and are not
As the Doctor was speaking the steamer rounded the point of an
island, and the dragoman called their attention to a number of conical
huts of grass among the low trees near the shore. That is a Shillook
village," said Abdul, "and several of the inhabitants are standing by the
edge of the river."
The boys ran below for their glasses, and were back again in a few
moments. They made out the negroes to be tall, well-formed men, most
of them fully six feet in height, and entirely without clothing, with the
exception of two, who had strips of cloth around their waists. Abdul
A SHILLOOK VILLAGE. 75
,' / / / /' / /
said the full dress of the Shillooks was a waist- cloth and a string of
The steamer stopped near one of the villages to take wood, and after
Shillooks are apt to be treacherous, and sometimes a lance or an arrow
n kin treated their confidence is easily secured, but they
y( ',' !,' I',i / I /,, '\
beads, but they were not always particular about arraying themselves.
Back of the village was a field of cotton and another of beans, and
there was every indication that the Shillooks had a fertile soil to cul-
tivate. Abdul said their products were the same as near Khartoum,
but they had very few fruit-trees, and their gardens were not carefully
The steamer stopped near one of the villages to take wood, and after
a consultation with the captain Abdul said the boys could go on shore,
but must not wander from the immediate vicinity of the boat. The
Shillooks are apt to be treacherous, and sometimes a lance or an arrow
is sent from the bushes when there is nothing to indicate the presence of
danger. When kindly treated their confidence is easily secured, but they
76 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
have been subject to so much ill-usage at the hands of the slave-dealers
that it is no wonder they are suspicious.
They are said to be honest in their dealings, though excellent hands
at a bargain, and as ready to tell a deliberate falsehood as the most ac-
complished shopkeeper in London or New York. They have no man-
ufactures, and the articles most in demand among them are cheap
cotton cloths and pieces of iron, from which they make the heads of
their spears. As the steamboat neared the landing several natives
paddled out to meet it, and the boys were much interested in the rafts,
which the Shillooks manage with a great deal of skill.
Those rafts are made from the ambatch plant," said Abdul. "It
is a reed like the bamboo, with hollow spaces between the joints, and is
very light and strong. The ambatch narrows toward the top, and to
make a raft of the plants all that is necessary is to fasten a couple of
dozen of them together at the ends and turn the smaller extremity
AN AMBATCH CANOE.
"The ambatch raft or canoe," he continued, "is in use all along the
White Nile, and it would be difficult to find a more serviceable craft. It
cannot be sunk, and if a man balances himself properly there is little
danger of an upset."
"They are useful in war as well as in peace," remarked Doctor Bron-
son, who was listening to the conversation. "Dr. Schweinfurth, in the
account of his travels in Africa, tells how he was pursued by a whole
fleet of Shillook canoes, and had a very narrow escape. He said not less
than three thousand canoes were in motion along the river and pursuing
the boat on which he was travelling.
"The wind left them while the canoes were approaching, and for a
while his position was very critical. Only the previous year five boats,
coming down the river on their way to Khartoum, had stopped at the
village they were passing and endeavored to buy some provisions. The
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AN ADVENTURE ON THE h7ILE.
78 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
natives brought fowls, honey, and other things to sell, and while the
negotiations were going on a large fleet of canoes suddenly came around
the point of land and attacked the strangers.
"The captain of one boat and a sailor from another managed to es-
cape by jumping into the river and swimming to a place of concealment
among the reeds. The rest of the party, some eighty in all, were killed,
and the vessels were plundered and burned.
"Of course this incident was fresh in the mind of Dr. Schweinfurth,
and you can imagine his despair when the wind ceased while the canoes
were approaching. But all 's well that ends well:' the wind suddenly
blew again, their sail was unfurled, and they were carried out of danger
in a little while. The disappointed Shillooks returned to the shore, and
nothing more was seen of them.
Bayard Taylor visited the Shillooks in his journey here in 1852,"
the Doctor continued. "He came from Khartoum, with a single boat,
manned by half a dozen sailors, and accompanied only by his dragoman.
The only arms he carried was an old pistol, and he was represented by
the captain of the boat to be a son of the Sultan of Turkey, who had
come on a peaceful visit to the chief of the Shillooks."
Frank asked if he was kindly received by them.
"(They were very surly at first," said Doctor Bronson, "and came
down to the river-bank armed with spears and clubs. After some parley
their chief stepped forward and asked if he wanted to fight. Mr. Tay-
lor declared he was anxious for peace, and for that reason had come on
shore without arms. The chief was not assured of his good intentions
for some time, and there was an angry controversy among the men, which
threatened for a while to result in open hostility; but nothing of the
kind was attempted. Mr. Taylor stayed a couple of hours on shore, and
just as the Shillooks began to show a familiarity bordering on insolence
he suddenly returned to his boat and steered down the river the way
he had come."
Then this was the southern limit of his journey, was it not ?" Fred
"Yes; he came to the island of Aba, which lies about latitude 120
north, or two hundred and fifty miles from Khartoum. He was very
anxious to push on to the south, but his contract with the owner of the
boat was only for a journey to this island. At that time the highest
point on the Nile to which any Europeans had ascended was about lati-
tude 40 north, or four hundred and eighty miles beyond the island of
Aba. Nothing was known about the sources of the Nile, and the gen-
SPEKE AND GRANT IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
80 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
eral impression among geographers was that the river rose at the base of
Mount Kilimandjaro, in the third degree of south latitude. Some geog-
raphers had thought it possible that the Nile flowed from Lake N'yassi,
but the idea was generally rejected. 'Since Columbus first looked upon
San Salvador,' wrote Mr. Taylor in his journal, 'the earth has but one
emotion of triumph left in her bestowal, and that she reserves for him
who shall first drink from the fountains of the White Nile, under the
snow-fields of Kilimandjaro.' "
"What great progress has been made since Mr. Taylor's time in the
exploration of Africa !" Frank exclaimed, as the Doctor finished his last
Yes," was the reply, the progress in the last half of the nineteenth
century has been greater than in the preceding twenty centuries. From
the days of Herodotus-two thousand years ago-till within the present
generation exploration of the valley of the Nile had accomplished very
little. Syene, at the first Cataract of the Nile, was a city in the days of
the ancient dynasties of Egypt; three thousand years ago the kingdoms
of Ethiopia flourished, and their rulers had a prominent place in history.
Time and time again men sought in vain to solve the mystery of the
source of the Nile, and it was reserved for men of our day to make the
One of the boys asked to whom the honor belonged of ascertaining
the source of the Nile.
"That question is a conundrum," replied the Doctor, with a smile,
"and a conundrum that needs an explanation before answering. The
honor belongs to several explorers, and not to one alone. Each has
made discoveries peculiarly his own, and these discoveries have supple-
mented the work of the rest.
"As I have before told you, it was long supposed that the Blue Nile
was the parent stream, and its sources were ascertained by James Bruce.
The error of this belief was set forth after the death of Bruce, as the
White Nile was found to be of greater volume than the Blue, and was
explored to a point more distant from the junction of the two streams
than were the springs of the Blue Nile. Mohammed Ali sent three ex-
peditions to find the sources of the White Nile, but they failed in their
efforts. Private expeditions were sent every few years, but with the
same results. The heat, the fevers, the hostility of the natives, the diffi-
culty of penetrating marshes and tropical forests, all conspired to frus-
trate their efforts. The first expedition of Mohammed Ali reached lati-
tude 6 30' north ; the second went to 4' 42' north; and the third stopped
AFRICA EXPLORED BY A LADY. 81
at about 5' north. Dr. Knoblecher, in 1849, went to 40 10' north, which
was farther than any one else had gone. Miani, an Italian traveller, went
to a point about 30 32' north, and about the same time Dr. Schweinfurth
explored the Bahr-el-Gazal, one of the tributaries of the White Nile, in
the expectation that it might turn out to be the main stream. Miss
Tinne, a Dutch lady, also explored that river, and spent more than a
year in its valley."
What!" exclaimed one of the youths, "a lady going on an expedi-
tion in Africa! She must have been fond of adventure. Who was
Miss Tinne was born in 1835, and was the daughter of a baroness,
who had a large fortune. She was fond of travel, and in 1861 went to
GROUP OF GANI MEN.
Cairo with her mother. She was so enamored of the East that she deter-
mined to remain there, and announced to her friends that she should not
return to Europe to live. In 1862 she started from Khartonm with a
steamboat, several sailing-boats, a large party of attendants, and so many
beasts of burden of various kinds that the natives everywhere believed
she was the daughter of the Sultan of Turkey. The only Europeans of
her party were Dr. Steudner and Baron Von Henglin, and also her
mother. The latter died of fever, and so did Dr. Steudner, before the
82 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
return to Khartoum, which occupied some fourteen months after the
departure of the expedition.
"Miss Tinne on this journey explored the Bahr-el-Gazal, and made a
great many notes and observations, which have been very useful to those
who followed her. She had previously visited the White Nile as far
as Gondokoro, and altogether she passed nearly three years in the work
of exploration. In 1869 she organized an expedition at Tripoli, intend-
ing to pass through Moorzook and Bornoo, and reach the Nile by way of
Kordofan, a route which up to that time had never been followed by
a European. She had fifty attendants and seventy camels on this ex-
pedition, and her only European companions were two Dutch sailors.
From Moorzook she went on a side-journey to the country of the
Touaregs, and was treacherously murdered by her escort. The sailors
who accompanied her were also murdered, and her native attendants
were sold into slavery.
Let us return to the exploration of the White Nile," said Doctor
Bronson. While these discoverers were at work from the north others
were approaching the Nile from the south, and it was from that direc-
tion the great secret was revealed. In 1856 Captains Speke and Burton,
of the British army, started from Zanzibar for a journey into Africa,
and on the 30th of July, 1858, Captain Speke discovered the Victoria
"N'yanza is a native word, meaning lake, and, reduced to English,
the body of water discovered by Speke may be called the Victoria
Lake of Africa. Captain Speke was alone at the time of the discovery,
his companion Burton being engaged in an exploration farther to the
south. Speke was of the opinion that the lake he had found was the
source of the Nile, but was unable to find its outlet, and so demonstrate
the correctness of his theory.
"In 1862 he revisited the lake, accompanied by Captain J. W. Grant,
and this time he explored its northern part and found its outlet. A
large river flowed northward from thle lake, and at its head was a cata-
ract, to which the explorer gave the name of Ripon Falls. The stream
is now known on the maps as the Victoria Nile, or Somerset River, and
may be considered the beginning of the great river of Egypt."
Then the Nile has its beginning at the outlet of the Victoria
N'yanza?" said one of the boys.
"Not exactly," was the reply. The Somerset River, or Victoria
Nile, flows northward into another lake, the Albert N'yanza, discovered
in 1864 by Sir Samuel W. Baker. The Albert N'yanza is smaller than
THE TRUE SOURCE OF THE NILE. 83
KARUMA FALLS, ON THE VICTORIA NILE (SOMERSET RIVER).
the Victoria N'yanza, and its outlet is the White Nile, on which we
are now travelling.
You know what the showman said when the little girl asked which
were the monkeys and which the hyenas ?"
Yes," said Frank: "' Whichever you please, my dear. You pays
your money, and you takes your choice.' "
"It is somewhat that way with the origin of the Nile," answered
the Doctor. "If the Victoria N'yanza is the source of the great river,
you can give the credit of its discovery to Captain Speke; and if the
outlet of the lake is technically the head of the river, the honor is di-
vided between Speke and Grant. If the Albert N'yanza, and not the
Victoria, is the source of the Nile-since the Bahr-el-Abiad, or White
Nile, issues from it-then you must set Speke and Grant aside and award
the palm of merit to Sir Samuel Baker."
"But how about the rivers that flow into the Victoria N'vanza?"
said Fred. There must be several affluents of the lake, and the
largest and longest of them might be called the true source of the
That is a matter which is not yet fully determined," was the reply.
"Stanley circumnavigated the Victoria N'yanza in 1875, and found
several streams flowing into it; but, as they have not all been traced to
84 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
their sources, we cannot say with exactness which is the longest. Until
this point is settled there will be a question in the minds of some very
exact people as to the source of the Nile, but for all practical purposes
the matter is determined already. To my way of thinking the Victoria
N'yanza is the source of the Nile; and it is hardly worth our while to
consider the streams that feed it, unless one of them should be found
to be larger than all the others, as in the case of the Somerset River,
flowing into the Albert N'yanza.
"There is another lake, called Tanganyika, which lies south of the
Victoria N'yanza, and was discovered by Burton and Speke in Feb-
ruary, 1858. It was supposed that this lake discharged into the Victo-
ria N'yanza, and this supposition was sustained by Dr. Livingstone
against the opinions of other geographers. It is known that the level
of Tanganyika is lower than the Victoria and Albert lakes, and there-
fore it cannot be the source of the Nile."
The conversation came to an end as the plank was put to the shore,
and the party stepped from the boat in the country of the Shillooks.
The natives straggled slowly to the landing-place, but were evi-
dently averse to an intimate acquaintance with the strangers. The
majority were in the same airy costume that the boys had observed
through their glasses, but some of them had added a veneering made
of a paste of ashes mixed with water. This did not enhance their
beauty; but as it was a fashion among them, and they evidently con-
sidered it correct, the strangers had no business to object. A few had
rubbed their faces and necks with red ashes, which gave a ferocious
tinge to their countenances, and was evidently regarded as an indica-
tion of bravery.
Nearly every one wore an armlet of metal or untanned leather
above the elbow, and the most of the crowd were armed with spears.
Some had strings of beads around their necks, and one, who seemed to
have authority, was decorated with beads larger than those of his
The boys endeavored to make a trade for some of the arm-rings
and spear-heads, but did not meet with much success. The natives
refused to part with their spears, and the Doctor said that, like most
savages, they probably had a superstition about selling their weapons,
believing that by so doing they would bring misfortune upon them-
selves and their tribes. After some bickering, however, Frank se-
cured an arm-ring of metal, while Fred bought one made of elephant-
hide. The price in each case was a string of small beads, but the offers
A MILITARY STATION ON THE WHITE NILE. 85
were refused half a dozen times before they were accepted. Trade is
a slow business among people to whom time has no value.
The whistle of the steamer brought the negotiations to an end,
and in a few minutes the boat was under way again. Nothing of mo-
ment occurred from this point to Fashoda, the first military post above
Khartoum, and the station of a mudir, or provincial governor. It is
situated on a bluff sloping gently from the river. The Egyptian por-
tion is surrounded by a mud-wall, and contains comfortable barracks
for the officers and soldiers. There is a Shillook village just outside,
the conical huts forming a marked contrast to the flat roofs of the sub-
stantial buildings erected by the government.
VIEW OF FASHODA. ------ ----
VIEW OF FASHODA.
86 TIHE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
AN ANTELOPE HUNT.-GUINEA-WORMS, WHITE ANTS, AND GREAT SNAKES.
THE steamer remained a day at Fashoda, and then proceeded on her
voyage, her next halting-place being at the mouth of the Sobat,
which is an affluent of the White Nile, and has its source in the moun-
tains near the Indian Ocean. Its water is considered superior to that
of the Nile for drinking purposes, and a supply was taken on board
for the use of the passengers and crew.
They now entered a succession of marshes and low ground, where
the river frequently divided into several channels, and was often par-
tially blocked with great masses of weeds and other tropical vegeta-
tion. A short distance above the Sobat, Frank and Fred had their
first view of a wild elephant, or rather of a troop of half a dozen or
more. They were not at all disturbed by the proximity of the steamer.
One was lying comfortably on the ground, and the rest stood watching
SCENE ON THE WHITE NILE ABOVE THE SOBAT.
THE "SUDD" AND ITS CHARACTER. 87
the boat while it passed up the stream a few hundred yards from them.
On the opposite bank of the river was a Shillook village, and beyond it
the dry grass was burning furiously and sending up a vast column of
smoke. The boys were much excited over their view of the elephants,
and greatly wished they could land and take a shot at the beasts.
Doctor Bronson told them they would have an opportunity to hunt
elephants before many days, and with this assurance they were contented.
Elephants roam the country on both banks of this part of the Nile,
but they are less numerous than farther up the valley. They are
hunted for their ivory by the natives, and occasionally the white man
gets a chance at them. Every year they increase in scarcity and in
shyness, so that the stranger's chance of sport among this huge game is
not very good. Occasionally they visit the fields of the natives during
the night, and do a great deal of damage by trampling down the crops
and eating the growing plants. The negroes take advantage of their
depredations to make pit-falls for them, and in this way a large ele-
phant sometimes finds himself a prey to the hunter.
As they ascended the Nile above the mouth of the Sobat, Abdul
pointed out the spot where the "sudd" formerly obstructed the river,
and caused great inconvenience.
The sudd had been mentioned before, but only briefly, and one of
the youths asked Abdul to describe it to them.
"From here to Gondokoro," said Abdul, "a distance of nearly eight
hundred miles, you will find the White Nile running through a series
of marshes and lowlands; in many places it spreads out over a wide
area, and forms a large number of channels among islands of greater or
less extent. You have already observed that the grass and reeds come
drifting with the current, and occasionally masses of them form to such
an extent that they take the shape of floating islands.
This floating stuff sometimes becomes caught and imprisoned at
low water, and it remains there, growing day by day, till the annual
flood brings down so large a current that it is swept away. One year
the flood was not sufficient to remove it, and it remained from one sea-
son till the next.
"Then it increased till it fairly drove the river from its bed, or
rather caused it to spread out and form new channels. It became a
bog, through which the water percolated or ran in unknown channels,
and furnishing a foundation for masses of vegetation, that sprung up
and flourished under the effect of tropical heat and moisture.
"This state of affairs continued for six or eight years, and the White
____-- -,- C
TIAULING A STEAMBOAT THROUGH A CANAL CUT IN' THE SUDD.
REMOVING A GUINEA-WORM. 89
Nile apparently ceased to exist, by reason of the great dam of reeds and
other plants that choked the channel and made navigation impossible.
This dam was the sudd of which we have been speaking.
"It remained here when Baker Pacha ascended the Nile on his ex-
pedition for the suppression of the slave-trade. His advance was re-
tarded for many months by the sudd; he was obliged to cut channels
through it, and then haul his boats along from one strip of open water
to another. Many of his men died from exposure and hard work in
passing the sudd, and there were fears at one time that it would cause
a total abandonment of the expedition.
The sudd was full of insects, that caused great suffering to all con-
cerned, and the air at all times was thick with mosquitoes. One of the
most dreaded pests was the 'guinea-worm,' that embeds itself in the
feet or ankles, and produces a disagreeable and often dangerous sore.
This worm is peculiar to the tropics, and is justly feared by all persons
liable to its attacks. It makes a slight puncture in the skin-generally
in or near the foot-and lays its eggs there. They are hatched in from
two months to a year, and the puncture is so minute that its presence
is not known until the eggs are developed."
One of the boys asked if the worm ever caused the death of the
"Generally he escapes with a dreadful sore, that may be months in
healing," said Doctor Bronson, who was standing near; "and not un-
frequently he loses the foot or leg where the sore is developed. If the
worm can be removed without breaking, and before it has created more
than a small sore like a pimple, no serious harm results; but the opera-
tion is difficult, and requires great care on the part of both doctor and
"How is it performed ?" Frank asked.
"When the vesicle breaks," the Doctor answered, the end of the
worm shows itself and hangs outside. It is gently pulled and coiled
round a piece of linen or a small stick, like a section of a toothpick, and
then fastened over the wound with sticking-plaster and a compress.
Twice a day the performance is repeated, and as much as possible of
the worm is coiled away. It takes all the way from a fortnight to three
or four months to remove a worm in this way. The worms vary from
six inches to three yards in length, and their circumference is about
that of small wrapping-twine. If a worm is broken in the process of ex-
traction it is liable to cause inflammation, fever, deformities, loss of the
limbs, mortification, and death. So you see it is not to be trifled with."
90 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
"What a terrible scourge !" said one of the boys. "I shall take
good care not to go into the water in the region where this worm
"It has been known and mentioned in ancient as well as in modern
writings," -the Doctor continued; "and some authorities argue that the
'fiery serpents' which attacked the Israelites in the wilderness were in
"How could that be?" Fred exclaimed. "They could not be any-
thing like serpents; and, besides, the pictures we have of the events of
the Exodus show that the Israelites were bitten by something larger
than the little threads you have described."
That is quite true," was the reply; but bear in mind that the
pictures in our books were not made at the time, but many centuries
afterward. The words in the original Hebrew-which are translated in
our version as 'fiery serpents'-refer unmistakably to something which
caused an inflammatory wound, and do not describe the serpent any
farther than this. By the Greeks the Filaria, or guinea worm, was
reckoned among the serpents, on account of its form as well as the re-
sults of its bite; and those who have studied the subject say that the
theory is supported by the natural conditions of the country through
which the Israelites passed, while the mortality among them can be
accounted for by their ignorance of the proper treatment. From a
scientific point of view, if not from a popular one, the subject is an
Doctor Bronson paused, as his attention was drawn to some conical
mounds on the shore near which they were passing.
SThey are ant-hills," said the Doctor, after a brief survey. They
are made by the wlite ants, which are found in various parts of Africa,
and display considerable skill in the construction of their homes."
The steamer halted for wood at a point close to several of the
mounds, and thus gave the youths an opportunity to examine them.
They found the ant-hills varying in height from six to ten feet, and
composed of a yellowish earth, nearly as hard as brick, and quite capable
of resisting the action of the rain.
Abdul said the ants used the yellow earth below the black soil on the
surface. Their first move was to swallow it, and thus mix it with an
albuminous matter from their bodies, so as to give it the character of
cement. Then the substance was formed into the mound which rose
above the level of the highest floods. When the river is low the black
soil is uncovered, and the ants roam in the vicinity of tle mounds; but
HUNTING THE ANTELOPE. 91
NESTS OF WHITE ANTS.
at the time of the inundation the entire country is under water, with the
exception of the mounds, which stand out like small islands.
From this point the ant-hills were numerous, and at the next halting-
place a group of antelopes was seen, with one of its number stationed on
a mound as a sentry. Finding the boat would be there a sufficient time
to permit the experiment, Doctor Bronson determined to capture the sen-
tinel, as an addition to the table of the steamer. Armed with his rifle, he
started on foot, carefully keeping several ant-hills in range of the one
where the sentry was standing, and never allowing himself more than
a glimpse of the creature's horns.
The sentinel did his duty thoroughly, and gave the Doctor no little
trouble to approach without being discovered. Creeping slowly from hill
to hill, he at last reached one about two hundred yards from that where
the sentinel stood. The animal was motionless, with the exception of his
92 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
head, which he turned from side to side occasionally, so as to take in the
entire horizon. His side was toward his enemy, so that he offered an
excellent mark. The rest of the herd was grazing near; but as the sen-
tinel was larger and a better prize than any of his companions, the Doc-
tor made no change of intention, and took aim at the one he had first
marked as his own.
The shot had its effect. As the smoke cleared away the antelope
sunk to its knees for an instant, and then rolled to the ground, where
it lay, quite dead. The balance of the herd fled, and the hunter, after
reloading his rifle, ran forward to survey the effect of his shot.
Mounting to the summit of the ant-hill, he waved his handkerchief
three times, which had been agreed upon to announce a successful shot.
As soon as the signal was seen four men were sent from the boat to carry
away the game. The boys walked out to meet the Doctor and congratu-
late him on his morning's work, and also to see the dead antelope. Frank
pronounced him "a beauty," and Fred said he was the finest animal of
the kind he had ever seen.
"His scientific name is Damalis Senegalensis," said Doctor Bronson,
"and he belongs to the family Antilopece, of which there are many varie-
ties. Africa has more of them than the rest of the world together, and
they surpass all others in beauty and numbers. There are no antelopes
in Madagascar or Australia. There are a few varieties in Asia, and only
one each in Western Europe and America. Look at the one I have just
killed; it will weigh at least four hundred pounds when dressed, and
if you measure him at the shoulder, as you would a horse, you will find
he is nearly five feet high. I doubt if any one ever saw so large an
antelope as this in America."
Frank made note of the fact that the prize which had fallen to the
Doctor's rifle had a skin which glistened like that of a carefully-kept
horse, and was in excellent condition. The face and ears were black,
and there was a strip of black along the shoulder and down the back
and legs. The tail was longer than that of the American antelope, and
had a tuft of hair at the end.
After looking at the antelope, and seeing him dressed and quartered,
the boys tried to break into one of the ant-hills, in order to examine the
interior. They found it nearly as hard as stone, and as they had brought
no pickaxes or other digging tools from the steamer they soon aban-
doned the effort. Abdul said they would find the inside full of passages,
leading to a chamber in the centre, where the ants made their home dur-
ing the season of floods. The ants are divided into workers, soldiers, and
H --- ___
/_zzi __ __ ___ __- ___- ___-- _------~=- - -
z--~-=-~-~ ___ ________
/ I/I /1/ >---' 'Ii
----A HERD OF ANTELOFE._
94 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
idlers, and thus Frank thought they evinced an affinity with the human
race. Doctor Bronson told him the workers were much more numerous
than the soldiers; the latter were five or six times as large as the work-
ers, and had powerful jaws, with which they could bite severely.
Fred asked if these ants were slave-makers." He had read of slave-
making ants, and thought, naturally enough, that in the land of the hu-
man slave-hunter and slave-owner
the ants might follow the example
of their betters.
These are not the slave-mak-
ers," was the reply, "or at any rate
it has not been clearly demon-
4. strated that they indulge in the
practice of maintaining involun-
tary servants. The one known as
a slave-maker is a red ant, some-
what smaller than the one before
S us. His habits have been studied,
so that there is no doubt of his
These red ants go out in large
numbers and make war upon a
species of black ant that lives in
the same region with themselves.
When they have conquered the
settlement they invade the nest
of their victims and carry away
A SLAVE-MAKING ANT, MAGNIFIED. the eggs or cocoons contaiing the
undeveloped young; these they
transport to their own nest, and they also take along a sufficient number
of the black ants to take care of the young as they are hatched. It is
exactly the same as if a party of slave-hunters should invade a negro
village and carry off all the infants they could find, together with enough
of the negro women to feed and care for the young prisoners. The
captive ants hatched in the nest become slaves as soon as they are large
enough to work, and whether the old ones are retained when the chil-
dren no longer require their attention has not been ascertained."
What a curious piece of information !" exclaimed one of the boys.
'"It sounds like a fiction, but I suppose the naturalists have removed all
doubts concerning it."
SEEING A LION. 95
"Yes," answered Doctor Bronson; "you can read of it in any work
on natural history where the habits of ants are set forth."
By the time they reached the boat sle was ready to move on, and in a
little while the scene of the antelope hunt was left behind.
In this part of the Nile few sailing or other boats were seen. Occa-
sionally the natives were on the water with their canoes or their rafts
of reeds, such as we have already seen, but they almost invariably pro-
pelled these diminutive craft by means of oars. Once in a while the
boat of a trader from Khartoum was passed, and in one place a dozen
or more of these craft were assembled in front of a native village.
Abdul said they were probably waiting the arrival of a convoy of ivory
from the interior, and it might be they were taking in a few slaves, in
addition to the other products of the country.
But though there was a scarcity of boats and other signs of com-
merce there was no lack of animal life. Frank was looking out from
the deck of the steamer as it turned a bend in the river; suddenly he
saw a large animal not twenty yards away, standing where it had appar-
ently been drinking, at the edge of the river. As it caught sight of the
boat it sprung up the bank and disappeared in the thicket, giving vent
to an angry roar as it moved away.
"That was a lion," said Abdul, who happened to be looking in the
same direction, "and you will see more of his race as we proceed. Lions
are quite numerous in this part of the country, and in fact all over
Africa, and if you want to hunt them you can easily do so. And there
are leopards and other carnivorous animals here," he continued, and
several varieties of serpents."
Fred asked if they were in the region of the huge pythons, that
were said to be large enough to swallow a man.
"We are not quite far enough for that," was the reply, but you
might see some very good ones here if you went to the snaky localities.
Serpents ten or fifteen feet long exist here, but you must go nearer the
equator to find them of twenty feet.
The natives say that a man should always cross his legs like a
figure four when lie goes to sleep at night, otherwise he is liable to be
swallowed by a python. He is said to do his work so quietly that he
does not wake his victim, and can only be foiled in his attempt when
the man crosses his legs as I have described, and prevents both feet
being taken in at once."
"If you want a good story of an adventure with a snake," said Frank,
"let me tell you of Colonel Long's experience as he narrates it."
=_====COLONEL LONG S GREAT SNAKE.=_
A SNAKE-STORY. 97
Fred agreed to be a good listener, and so Frank settled into his
chair and began the thrilling tale:
Colonel Long says he was one day seated in his camp at Foueira,
near the borders of the Albert N'yanzi, when he saw several men ap-
proaching with what he at first supposed was the trunk of a tree. It
proved to be a large boa-constrictor, or python, which had just been
killed close to the hut where he slept at night. It measured thirty feet
in length, and in diameter was the size of a child. One of his men had
said that a huge snake came every night to suck the cows in the camp;
but the colonel had taken the narrative as an apocryphal 'snake-story'
and given it no attention. The night before, his men were seated
around the fire in the hut next his own, and suddenly fled in terror at
the sight of an enormous head looking at them from an opening in the
wall of the hut, and at the same time countless small serpents were
gliding at their feet.
The cause was now apparent, the colonel says: the boa had laid
its eggs on the outer wall of the hut, where they were hatched by the
heat of the atmosphere, and the mother had come there to meet them
at the time of their hatching. A strict and somewhat nervous watch
was kept through the night, but without any result. The next morning
the snake was intercepted while looking for its young, and despatched
with several charges of shot in its head and body. Colonel Long says
that after that incident he went to bed every night with the thought of
the possibility of being strangled in his sleep by one of tlese horrible
visitors. Luckily for him, and for us, there was no intimate friend of
her snakeship to pay him a call and seek revenge for her death."
Fred asked if the bite of the python was poisonous. Doctor Bron-
son explained that the python belonged to the family of constrictors,
like the black snake of New England, and its bite was harmless. "It
seizes its prey with its mouth," said the Doctor, "but only for the
purpose of holding it. At the same instant it throws its folds about
its victim and crushes it with the immense power of its constricting
muscles. Next it proceeds to cover it with saliva, and then begins
the process of swallowing, which may occupy several hours.
"The swallowing is done by the contraction of the muscles of the
head and neck, aided by the teeth, which hook backward, so that when
anything has once entered it cannot be withdrawn. If a serpent of this
species begins to swallow anything that cannot be carried down it
will choke to death, and skeletons of pythons have been found with
the skeletons of deer, goats, buffalo, or other horned animals, in their